Definition

Fibromyalgia is a complex, chronic, and disabling disorder. It causes widespread pain. It also causes poor sleep and fatigue.

Fibromyalgia Trigger Points

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Causes

The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown.

The following are some of the conditions that are commonly associated with fibromyalgia:

    
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Chronic headache, such as tension headaches
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Female urethral syndrome (irritable bladder)
  • 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

    Symptoms and severity of fibromyalgia are different for everyone.

    Fibromyalgia may cause:

        
  • Generlized pain and tenderness
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Poor sleep
  • Reduced physical endurance
  • Problems with concentration, thought, or memory
  • Factors that may trigger or worsen symptoms include:

        
  • Weather changes, especially cold, damp weather
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Overexertion
  • Medical illness
  • Surgery
  • Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

    The doctor will look for the following signs:

        
  • Widespread pain lasting three months or longer
  • Tenderness (on physical exam) in specific areas of the body
  • Your doctor may do tests to make sure your symptoms are not due to other conditions.

    Treatment

    The goal of treatment is to relieve or control the symptoms. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include:

    Therapy Programs

        
  • Physical therapy
  • Heated pool treatments
  • Alternative treatments, such as massage , acupuncture , relaxation training , trigger point therapy, biofeedback, and yoga
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Lifestyle Changes

    Your doctor may also recommend that you make lifestyle changes, such as:

        
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Learning to cope with physical and mental stress
  • Maintaining a regular sleep schedule
  • Participating 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.
  • Medications

    Your doctor may recommend the following to help manage symptoms:

        
  • Antidepressants
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Sedatives
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Opioids
  • Prevention

    There are no current guidelines to prevent fibromyalgia.