Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes muscle pain and fatigue (feeling tired). People with fibromyalgia have “tender points” on the body. Tender points are specific places on the neck, shoulders, back, hips, arms, and legs that hurt when pressure is put on them.
Fibromyalgia can cause significant pain and fatigue, and it can interfere with a person’s ability to carry on daily activities.
: problems with sleeping, morning stiffness, headaches, painful menstrual periods, tingling or numbness in hands and feet, and problems with thinking and memory (sometimes called “fibro fog”).
: the cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. It has been linked to stressful or traumatic events (such as road accidents), repetitive injuries, and certain diseases (like rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosis, ankylosing spondylitis). Genetic predisposition is also suspected.
: doctors often rule out other potential causes of the symptoms before making a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. A diagnosis can be made based on criteria established by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR): a history of widespread pain lasting more than 3 months, and the presence of diffuse tenderness.
: Requires a team approach, with the doctor, physical therapist, possibly other health professionals, and the patient all playing an active role.
• General measures: exercise, getting adequate sleep, making changes at work, and eating a balanced diet.
• Pharmacologic therapy: a wide variety of medications, including analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs, antidepressants, and benzodiazepines have been used.
• Complementary and alternative therapies: varying degrees of success have been reported with massage, movement therapies (such as Pilates), chiropractic treatments, acupuncture, and various herbs and dietary supplements.
: fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, meaning it lasts a long time — possibly a lifetime. However, it is not a progressive disease. It is never fatal, and it will not cause damage to the joints, muscles, or internal organs. In many people, the condition does improve over time.
See reference for more information.
Adapted from National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Health Info. Fibromyalgia. Internet. Accessed on November 27, 2012, .