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 which hurt when pressure is put on them.
People with fibromyalgia may also
have other symptoms, such as:
Painful menstrual periods
Tingling or numbness in hands and feet
Problems with thinking and memory (sometimes called
The causes of fibromyalgia are
unknown. There may be a number of factors involved. Fibromyalgia has been
Stressful or traumatic events, such as car accidents
Fibromyalgia can also occur on its
Some scientists think that a gene or
genes might be involved in fibromyalgia. The genes could make a person react strongly
to things that other people would not find painful.
Is Affected by Fibromyalgia?
Scientists estimate that
fibromyalgia affects 5 million Americans 18 or older. Between 80 and 90 percent
of people diagnosed with fibromyalgia are women. However, men and children also
can have the disorder. Most people are diagnosed during middle age.
People with certain other diseases
may be more likely to have fibromyalgia. These diseases include:
Systemic lupus erythematosus (commonly called lupus)
Ankylosing spondylitis (spinal arthritis).
Women who have a family member with
fibromyalgia may be more likely to have fibromyalgia themselves.
How Is Fibromyalgia Treated?
Fibromyalgia can be hard to treat.
It's important to find a doctor who is familiar with the disorder and its
treatment. Many family physicians, general internists, or rheumatologists can
treat fibromyalgia. Rheumatologists are doctors who specialize in arthritis and
other conditions that affect the joints or soft tissues.
Fibromyalgia treatment often
requires a team approach. The team may include your doctor, a physical
therapist, and possibly other health care providers. A pain or rheumatology
clinic can be a good place to get treatment.
Can I Do to Try to Feel Better?
There are many things you can do to
feel better, including:
Taking medicines as prescribed
Getting enough sleep
Making work changes if necessary.
Research Is Being Done on Fibromyalgia?
The NIAMS sponsors research to help understand
fibromyalgia and find better ways to diagnose, treat, and prevent it.
Researchers are studying:
Why people with fibromyalgia have increased sensitivity
Medicines and behavioral treatments.
Whether there is a gene or genes that make a person
more likely to have fibromyalgia.
The use of imaging methods [e.g., magnetic resonate
imaging (MRI)] to better understand fibromyalgia.
Inflammation in the body and its relationship to
Non-drug therapies to help reduce pain.
Methods to improve sleep in people with fibromyalgia.
NIAMS health-related material is
provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent
endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Arthritis
and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases or any other Federal agency. Advice on
the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through
consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with
that patient's medical history.
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