May 12 is National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. Fibromyalgia is a disorder caused by the brain perceiving normal sensations as pain due to the enhancement of peripheral sensory signals. The disorder includes symptoms like chronic widespread body pain, fatigue and sleep disturbances, among many other issues. It affects about 12 million people in the United States, including Morgan Freeman, who considers his condition a remnant of a 2008 car accident. While some doctors speculate fibromyalgia can be brought on by previous injuries or psychological stress, not much is known about the musculoskeletal disorder. 

To better understand fibromyalgia, how it’s diagnosed and what people who have it can do for relief, Blavity spoke to Dr. Shari Calicker, a Florida-based family medicine doctor with moderate experience treating fibromyalgia patients.