Description: Condition of excessive fibrous formation in organ characterised by muscle pain, stiffness and easy fatigability, most common in the neck and shoulder; also known as fibrositis.
Persons most commonly affected: Adults, usually over 30 years. It tends to be more common in females.
Organ or part of body involved: Muscles.
Symptoms and indications: A gradual onset of stiffness and pain with sudden muscle spasms that can be quite painful. There are tender points, or nodules, which are sensitive to touch. Associated symptoms include fatigue, loss of sleep, IBS symptoms and anxiety.
Causes and risk factors: Usually occurs in the absence of any other disease, and it may be mimicked by polymyalgia rheumatica or rheumatoid arthritis.
Prevention: Maintain a balanced diet, lose excess weight if you are overweight (obesity can worsen arthritis) and exercise three to four times a week. A good diet includes choices from each of five different groups of foods, which are breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables, fats and oils, poultry, oily fish, lean meats or dried beans, and low-fat milk, cheese and yoghurt. Foods high in cholesterol, fats and sugar should be avoided. Steer clear of takeaway foods and bakery delights. Salt, smoking and alcohol also should be avoided. Warm and hot baths promote the healing of inflammation. Swimming is also advised.