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(FM; Fibromyalgia Syndrome; FMS)
  • Definition

    Fibromyalgia is a complex, chronic, and disabling disorder. It causes widespread pain. It also causes poor sleep and fatigue.
    Fibromyalgia Trigger Points
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
  • Causes

    The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown.
    The following are some of the conditions that are commonly associated with fibromyalgia:
  • 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
    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.
    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.

    American College of Rheumatology

    The American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association


    The Arthritis Society

    Fibromyalgia Information and Local Support


    About fibromyalgia. National Fibromyalgia Association website. Available at: Accessed August 9, 2013.

    Buckhardt CS, Goldenberg D, Crofford L, et al. Guideline for the management of fibromyalgia syndrome pain in adults and children. Glenview (IL): American Pain Society (APS); 2005. as summarized in National Guideline Clearinghouse 2005;19:7298.

    Carville SF, Arendt-Nielsen S, Bliddal H, et al. EULAR evidence-based recommendations for the management of fibromyalgia syndrome. Ann Rheum Dis. 2008;67:536-541.

    Fibromyalgia. American College of Rheumatology website. Available at: Accessed August 9, 2013.

    Fibromyalgia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated July 15, 2013. Accessed August 9, 2013.

    Fibromyalgia. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: Updated August 2012. Accessed August 9, 2013.

    Wierville L. Fibromyalgia: diagnosing and managing a complex syndrome. J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 2012;24(4):184-92.

    2/17/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : 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's Systematic Literature Surveillance : 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's Systematic Literature Surveillance : 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's Systematic Literature Surveillance : 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.

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