What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a type of chronic pain. It is a health condition in which a person has long-term, body-wide pain and soreness in joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. Fibromyalgia is also linked to being tired and having sleep problems, headaches, depression, and anxiety. When you have fibromyalgia you may feel almost “normal” on some days. Other days you may find it hard to do the simplest task.

The cause of fibromyalgia is not known. Physical or emotional stress may play a part. Painful events, repetitive stress injuries, and sickness may be causes. Women are more likely to get fibromyalgia than men are. But men and children can also have this condition.

Symptoms of fibromyalgia include:

  • Widespread pain for longer than 3 months that isn’t caused by some other health condition
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep problems that often result in waking up still feeling tired, or sleep that is affected by pain
  • Other sleep issues such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome
  • Problems with memory or thinking clearly. This is sometimes called “fibro fog”

Some people with fibromyalgia also may have:

  • Depression or anxiety
  • Migraine or tension headaches
  • Digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (often called IBS) or gastroesophageal reflux disease (often called GERD)
  • Irritable or overactive bladder
  • Pelvic pain
  • Temporomandibular disorder – often called TMJ (a set of symptoms including face or jaw pain, jaw clicking, and ringing in the ears)

Treatments for fibromyalgia focus on reducing symptoms and boosting overall health. This is done through self-care, medicines, and lifestyle changes. Self-care and lifestyle changes are critical when managing fibromyalgia.

This can mean:

  • Lowering stress
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Eating healthy
  • Being adaptable
  • Sticking with a regular sleep pattern
  • Getting support

Not all treatments work for all people with fibromyalgia. Make sure to talk with your health care provider about your symptoms. You can work together to make a plan that works best for you.

Ask you health care practitioner if there are any tests, referrals, or treatments that might be helpful to use along with your current treatment plan. Other treatment options may include the following: chiropractic services, physical therapy, acupuncture, nutritional services, massage therapy, medicines, and other services (such as occupational therapy).