Is fibromyalgia real?

Ask the doctors

Q. My friend was recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia, but it seems like she might be imagining her symptoms. Is fibromyalgia a real condition?

A. The short answer to your question is yes. Fibromyalgia is a real condition that affects some four million Americans. It's a chronic pain syndrome that experts believe may be caused by a malfunctioning nervous system. Researchers using magnetic resonance imaging to examine the brains of people with fibromyalgia have found abnormalities in the part of the brain that processes pain signals from the body. It appears that this part of the brain is essentially boosting the intensity of normal pain signals, potentially causing the body to feel pain without a physical cause.

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