Definition

Fibromyalgia is a long-lasting problem that causes a person to have muscle pain and feel weak.

Fibromyalgia Trigger Points

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

The cause is not known. It may be linked to genes, certain health problems, and stress.

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in women who are middle aged. Other things that may raise the risk are:

  • Having other family members who have it
  • Infections
  • Stress
  • Trauma or injury
  • Sleep problems

Symptoms

A person with this problem will have muscle pain and feel weak. Others problems are:

  • Problems sleeping
  • Feelings of hopelessness; worrying a lot
  • Being sensitive to touch
  • Problems with focus, thought, or memory
  • Stiff muscles
  • Being sensitive to noises, light, or odors

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. An exam will be done. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to ease symptoms. Choices are:

Exercise

Exercise at least four times a week for 30 minutes each time. Strength training exercises and aerobic exercises like swimming are best.

Therapy

Therapy may help a person cope. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one method that teaches how thought patterns influence pain.

Medicine

These medicines may be given:

  • Antidepressants to ease pain
  • Pain relievers
  • Anti-seizure medicine to ease pain and help with sleep problems
  • Cannabinoids to help with sleep problems

Prevention

Fibromyalgia cannot be prevented. The cause is not known.

RESOURCES:

American College of Rheumatology
http://www.rheumatology.org

The American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association
http://www.afsafund.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

The Arthritis Society
http://www.arthritis.ca

Fibromyalgia Information and Local Support
http://fibromyalgia.ncf.ca

REFERENCES:

About fibromyalgia. National Fibromyalgia Association website. Available at: http://www.fmaware.org/about-fibromyalgia. Accessed October 31, 2019.

Fibromyalgia. American College of Rheumatology website. Available at: http://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Fibromyalgia. Updated March 2019. Accessed October 31, 2019.

Fibromyalgia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/fibromyalgia. Updated September 20, 2019. Accessed October 31, 2019.

Fibromyalgia. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/fibromyalgia. Updated July 2014. Accessed October 31, 2019.

Macfarlane GJ, Kronisch C, et al. EULAR revised recommendations for the management of fibromyalgia. Ann Rheum Dis. 2017 Feb;76(2):318-328full-text, commentary can be found in Nat Rev Rheumatol 2016 Oct;12(10);568.

Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD  Last Updated: 10/31/2019