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Figuring Out Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is one of the most baffling illnesses on the planet. Characterized by chronic fatigue and widespread soft-tissue and muscle pain and tenderness, fibromyalgia has only been recognized as a medical disorder since the 1980s.

While the cause of fibromyalgia remains unclear, scientists at Georgetown University may have found a link between the disease and another condition: sinusitis, an inflammation of the membranes that line the nose and sinus cavities.

In a study published in the Archives on Internal Medicine, researchers surveyed 297 patients age 40 or younger. While undergoing a general medical exam, they were asked questions about fatigue, body pain and symptoms typical of a sinus infection. Approximately 22 percent of the patients complained of unexplained chronic fatigue; 11 percent complained of unexplained chronic pain; and 9 percent reported both. These patients were 10 times more likely than other patients to have symptoms associated with sinusitis.

Sinus symptoms were more common among patients with unexplained fatigue than fatigue caused by mental or physical illness, suggesting a link between sinus problems and unexplained fatigue. In addition, most of the patients who met the criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome reported having sinus problems.

The results of this study suggest that while treating the sinuses won't cure fibromyalgia, there's a chance it may relieve some of the pain and fatigue associated with the condition. Your doctor of chiropractic can advise you of the treatments available for sinusitis, and also suggest ways to relieve muscle pain, improve sleep quality and increase energy.


Chester AC. Symptoms of rhinosinusitis in patients with unexplained chronic fatigue or bodily pain. Archives of Internal Medicine, Aug. 11, 2003: Volume. 163, Number 15, pp.1832-1836.


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