Fibromyalgia is a complex, chronic, and disabling disorder. It causes widespread pain. It also causes poor sleep and fatigue.
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The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. It may be related to abnormal processing of pain.
Conditions that are commonly associated with fibromyalgia include:
Risk Factors ^
Fibromyalgia is more common in women, and in people aged 20-60 years old. Physical or mental stress may also increase your chance of getting fibromyalgia.
Symptoms and severity of fibromyalgia are different for everyone.
Fibromyalgia may cause:
- Generalized pain and tenderness that can:
- Be moderate to severe
- Feel stabbing, shooting, achy, or throbbing
- Be widespread and chronic
- Be associated with muscle twitching
- Poor sleep
- Reduced physical endurance
- Problems with concentration, thought, or memory
- Sensitivity to noises, light, or odors
Factors that may trigger or worsen symptoms include:
- Physical injury
- Weather changes, especially cold, damp weather
- Stress or anxiety
- Medical illness
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Diagnosis is usually based on reported symptoms and tenderness in specific areas of the body during the physical exam.
Fibromyalgia is usually diagnosed when pain or tenderness is present in more than 7 locations and consistent for more than 3 months.
The goal of treatment is to relieve or control the symptoms. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include:
Your doctor may also recommend that you make lifestyle changes, such as:
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Learn to cope with physical and mental stress.
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule.
- Participate in a regular exercise program that includes aerobic activity, strength training, and flexibility exercises. Gentle exercises that may not strain painful areas include walking, biking, and swimming. Talk to your doctor to make sure it is safe for you to start exercising.
Your doctor may recommend the following to help manage symptoms:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Muscle relaxants
- Opioids—if not relieved by other treatments
There are no current guidelines to prevent fibromyalgia.
American College of Rheumatology
The American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association
The Arthritis Society
Fibromyalgia Information and Local Support
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2/17/2009 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillancehttp://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116339/Fibromyalgia: Russell IJ, Perkins AT, Michalek JE; Oxybate SXB-26 Fibromyalgia Syndrome Study Group. Sodium oxybate relieves pain and improves function in fibromyalgia syndrome: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter clinical trial. Arthritis Rheum. 2009;60:299-309.
4/14/2009 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillancehttp://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116339/Fibromyalgia: Munguía-Izquierdo D, Legaz-Arrese A. Assessment of the effects of aquatic therapy on global symptomatology in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2008;89:2250-2257.
4/22/2011 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillancehttp://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116339/Fibromyalgia: Sañudo B, Galiano D, Carrasco L, Blagojevic M, de Hoyo M, Saxton J. Aerobic exercise versus combined exercise therapy in women with fibromyalgia syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2010;91(12):1838-1843.
4/22/2011 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillancehttp://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116339/Fibromyalgia: Carson JW, Carson KM, Jones KD, Bennett RM, Wright CL, Mist SD. A pilot randomized controlled trial of the Yoga of Awareness program in the management of fibromyalgia. Pain. 2010;151(2):530-539.
Last reviewed June 2016 by Michael Woods, MD Last Updated: 5/11/2013