Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes pain in muscles and soft tissues all over
body. It is an ongoing (chronic) condition. It can affect your neck, shoulders, back,
chest, hips, buttocks, arms, and legs. The pain may be worse in the morning and evening.
Sometimes, the pain may last all day long. The pain may get worse with activity, cold
damp weather, anxiety, and stress. This condition is more often diagnosed in people
between the ages of 20 and 50. It is most common in middle-aged women.
cause is unknown. Researchers think there may be a link with sleep problems and stress.
It may also be linked to immune, endocrine, or biochemical problems.
person’s symptoms may vary. But chronic pain is the most common symptom. The pain
often affects the muscles and the points where muscles attach to bones. These are
ligaments and tendons.
may start in 1 part of your body, such as your neck and shoulders. But any part of
body may be affected. The pain ranges from mild to severe, with “flare ups” and times
improvement. The discomfort from fibromyalgia may feel like burning, soreness,
stiffness, aching, or gnawing pain, often times with sore spots in certain parts of
muscles. The pain may feel like arthritis. But it doesn’t damage muscles or bones.
Other common symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
to severe tiredness (fatigue)
problems at night
- Depressed mood
- Irritable bowel symptoms, such as belly (abdominal) pain and bloating, diarrhea, and
thinking clearly (called “fibro fog”)
These symptoms can seem like other health conditions. Make sure to see your healthcare
provider for a diagnosis.
There are no tests that can confirm a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Instead, diagnosis
based on your symptoms, a physical exam, and possibly ruling out other conditions.
Treatment will depend on your symptoms, age, and general health. It
will also depend on how severe the condition is.
There is no known cure for fibromyalgia, but symptoms can be managed. Mild cases may
get better with stress reduction or lifestyle changes. More severe cases may need
treated with a healthcare team approach. This may include your primary healthcare
provider, a specialist called a rheumatologist, a physical therapist, and a pain
management clinic. Treatment may include:
- Anti-inflammatory medicines to ease pain and help you sleep
- Medicines approved for treating fibromyalgia (duloxetine, pregabalin, and
- Medicines to ease depression (antidepressants)
- Exercise (low impact) and physical therapy to stretch muscles and improve
- Relaxation methods or cognitive behavioral therapy
- Heat or
- Alternative treatments such as acupuncture and chiropractic or massage therapy
with your healthcare providers about the risks, benefits, and possible side effects
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, but it may be managed by working with your
healthcare providers. In addition to medicines, lifestyle changes can help symptoms.
These include getting enough sleep and exercise.
your symptoms get worse or you have new symptoms, tell your healthcare provider.
- Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes pain in muscles and soft tissues all
over the body.
- Researchers think it may be linked to sleep problems, stress, or immune, endocrine,
or biochemical problems.
may also include lack of energy (fatigue), sleep problems, depression, headaches,
is no known cure, but symptoms can be managed.
- Treatments may include medicine, exercise, relaxation, heat or cold, and
to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
the reason for your visit and what you want to happen.
your visit, write down questions you want answered.
someone with you to help you ask questions and remember what your provider tells
- At the
visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis and any new medicines, treatments, or
tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you.
why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed and how it will help you. Also know
what the side effects are..
- Ask if
your condition can be treated in other ways.
why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
what to expect if you do not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
- If you
have a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that
- Know how
you can contact your provider if you have questions.