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Fibromyalgia, also called fibromyalgia syndrome, or just FM., is a chronic (long-term) condition that causes pain all over the body. The name fibromyalgia comes from three Latin words: • 'fibro' meaning fibrous tissues - such as tendons (bands of tissue that connect muscles to bones) and ligaments (bands of tissue that connect bones to bones) • 'my' meaning muscles • 'algia' meaning pain However, the condition does not just affect the muscles, ligaments and tendons, but is felt all over the body. This results in widespread pain and fatigue (extreme tiredness).
How common is fibromyalgia? It is estimated that fibromyalgia affects around 4.5% of the population across the globe. That means that in England and Wales, there could be up to 1.76 million adults with fibromyalgia. Anyone can develop fibromyalgia, although the condition affects more women than men. In most cases, fibromyalgia occurs between 30 and 60 years of age, but it can develop in people of any age, including children and the elderly.