Fibromyalgia

What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes pain in muscles and soft tissues all over the
body. It is an ongoing (chronic) condition. It can affect your neck, shoulders, back,
chest, hips, buttocks, arms, and legs. The pain may be worse in the morning and evening.
Sometimes, the pain may last all day long. The pain may get worse with activity, cold or
damp weather, anxiety and stress. The condition affects about 1 in 50 to 1 in 25 people
in the U.S. It is most common in middle-aged women.

What causes fibromyalgia?

The cause is unknown. Researchers think there may be a link with sleep problems and stress. It may also be linked to immune, endocrine, or biochemical problems.

What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?

Each person’s symptoms may vary. But chronic pain is the most common symptom. The pain most often affects the muscles and the points where muscles attach to bones. These are the ligaments and tendons.

Pain
may start in one part of your body, such as your neck and shoulders. Any part of the
body can be affected. . The pain ranges from mild to severe. It may feel like
burning, soreness, stiffness, aching, or gnawing pain. You may have sore spots in
certain parts of your muscles. It may feel like arthritis, but it’s not a condition that
gets worse. And it doesn’t damage muscles or bones.

Other common symptoms of fibromyalgia include:

  • Medium
    to severe tiredness (fatigue)
  • Less exercise endurance
  • Sleep problems at night
  • Depressed mood
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Irritable bowel symptoms, such as belly (abdominal) pain and bloating, diarrhea, and constipation
  • Restless legs
  • Painful menstrual periods
  • Trouble thinking clearly (called “fibro fog”)

These symptoms can seem like other health conditions. Make sure to see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?

There are no tests that can confirm a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Instead, diagnosis is
based on your symptoms, a physical exam, and possibly ruling out other conditions.