Symptoms of fibromyalgia include chronic pain and fatigue. From WebMD, learn about all the symptoms of fibromyalgia and when to call a doctor. Because the classic symptoms of fibromyalgia -- widespread muscle and Many people with fibro -- also called fibromyalgia syndrome or FMS. Fibromyalgia has many symptoms that tend to vary from person to person. The main symptom is widespread pain.
Changes in the way this system works may explain why fibromyalgia results in constant feelings of, and extreme sensitivity to, pain. Low levels of these hormones may be a key factor in the cause of fibromyalgia, as they're important in regulating things such as:.
Some researchers have also suggested that changes in the levels of some other hormones, such as cortisol which is released when the body is under stress , may contribute to fibromyalgia.
It's possible that disturbed sleep patterns may be a cause of fibromyalgia, rather than just a symptom. Fibromyalgia can prevent you from sleeping deeply and cause fatigue extreme tiredness. Research has suggested that genetics may play a small part in the development of fibromyalgia, with some people perhaps more likely than others to develop the condition because of their genes.
Fibromyalgia is often triggered by a stressful event, including physical stress or emotional psychological stress. Possible triggers for the condition include:. There are several other conditions often associated with fibromyalgia.
Generally, these are rheumatic conditions affecting the joints, muscles and bones , such as:. Diagnosing fibromyalgia can be difficult, as there's no specific test to diagnose the condition. During diagnosis, you'll be asked about how your symptoms are affecting your daily life.
If your GP thinks you may have fibromyalgia, they'll first have to rule out all other conditions that could be causing your symptoms. These conditions may include:. If you're found to have another condition, you could still have fibromyalgia as well. For fibromyalgia to be diagnosed, certain criteria usually have to be met. If your symptoms suggest that you have another condition as well as fibromyalgia, you may need further tests to diagnose these.
Identifying all possible conditions will help to guide your treatment. Treatment for fibromyalgia tries to ease some of your symptoms and improve quality of life, but there's currently no cure. Your GP will play an important role in your treatment and care. In some cases, several different healthcare professionals may also be involved in your care, such as:.
Fibromyalgia has numerous symptoms, meaning that no single treatment will work for all of them. Treatments that work for some people won't necessarily work for others. You may need to try a variety of treatments to find a combination that suits you. This will normally be a combination of medication and lifestyle changes.
You may find it helpful to research fibromyalgia to improve your understanding of the condition. Many people also find support groups helpful. Just talking to someone who knows what you're going though can make you feel better. Fibromyalgia Action UK is a charity that offers information and support to anyone who has fibromyalgia.
You may need to take several different types of medicines for fibromyalgia, including painkillers and antidepressants.
These are described below. They boost the levels of certain chemicals that carry messages to and from the brain, known as neurotransmitters. For information on the side effects of your particular medication, check the patient information leaflet that comes with it. As fibromyalgia can affect your sleeping patterns, you may want medicine to help you sleep.
If you're sleeping better, you may find that other symptoms aren't as severe. They may recommend an over-the-counter remedy, or prescribe a short course of a stronger medication. Some antidepressants may also improve your sleep quality. If you have muscle stiffness or spasms when the muscles contract painfully as a result of fibromyalgia, your GP may prescribe a short course of a muscle relaxant, such as diazepam.
These medicines may also help you sleep better because they can have a sedative sleep-inducing effect. You may also be prescribed an anticonvulsant anti-seizure medicine, as these can be effective for those with fibromyalgia. These are normally used to treat epilepsy , but research has shown they can improve the pain associated with fibromyalgia in some people. Antipsychotic medicines, also called neuroleptics, are sometimes used to help relieve long-term pain.
Studies have shown that these medications may help conditions such as fibromyalgia, but further research is needed to confirm this. There's little scientific evidence that such treatments help in the long term.
However, some people find that certain treatments help them to relax and feel less stressed, allowing them to cope with their condition better. Research into some complementary medicines, such as plant extracts, has found they're not effective in treating fibromyalgia. If you decide to use any complementary or herbal remedies, check with your GP first. Some remedies can react unpredictably with other medication, or make it less effective. For example, additional counselling or medication may be recommended.
If you have fibromyalgia, there are several ways to change your lifestyle to help relieve your symptoms and make your condition easier to live with. Your GP, or another healthcare professional treating you, can offer advice and support about making these changes part of your everyday life. There are organisations to support people with fibromyalgia that may also be able to offer advice. You may also find it helpful to talk to other people with fibromyalgia on this online community.
As fatigue extreme tiredness and pain are two of the main symptoms of fibromyalgia, you may find that you're not able to exercise as much as you'd like. However, an exercise programme specially suited to your condition can help you manage your symptoms and improve your overall health. Your GP or physiotherapist healthcare professional trained in using physical techniques to promote healing can design you a personal exercise programme, which is likely to involve a mixture of aerobic and strengthening exercises.
Aerobic activities are any kind of rhythmic, moderate-intensity exercises that increase your heart rate and make you breathe harder.
Research suggests that aerobic fitness exercises should be included in your personalised exercise plan, even if you can't complete these at a high level of intensity.
For example, if you find jogging too difficult, you could try brisk walking instead. A review of a number of studies found that aerobic exercises may improve quality of life and relieve pain. As aerobic exercises increase your endurance how long you can keep going , these may also help you function better on a day-to-day basis. Resistance and strengthening exercises are those that focus on strength training, such as lifting weights.
These exercises need to be planned as part of a personalised exercise programme; if they aren't, muscle stiffness and soreness could be made worse. People with fibromyalgia who completed the strengthening exercises in these studies said they felt less tired, could function better and experienced a boost in mood.
If you have fibromyalgia, it's important to pace yourself. This means balancing periods of activity with periods of rest, and not overdoing it or pushing yourself beyond your limits. If you don't pace yourself, it could slow down your progress in the long term. Over time, you can gradually increase your periods of activity, while making sure they're balanced with periods of rest.
If you have fibromyalgia, you will probably have some days when your symptoms are better than others. Try to maintain a steady level of activity without overdoing it, but listen to your body and rest whenever you need to. Avoid any exercise or activity that pushes you too hard, because this can make your symptoms worse.
If you pace your activities at a level that's right for you, rather than trying to do as much as possible in a short space of time, you should make steady progress. If you have fibromyalgia, it's important to regularly take time to relax or practice relaxation techniques. Stress can make your symptoms worse or cause them to flare up more often.
It could also increase your chances of developing depression. There are many relaxation aids available, including books, tapes and courses, although deep-breathing techniques or meditation may be just as effective. Try to find time each day to do something that relaxes you.
Taking time to relax before bed may also help you sleep better at night. Talking therapies, such as counselling, can also be helpful in combating stress and learning to deal with it effectively.
Your GP may recommend you try this as part of your treatment. If you have problems sleeping, it may help to:. Read more insomnia self-help tips. Home Illnesses and conditions Muscle, bone and joints Conditions Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia See all parts of this guide Hide guide parts About fibromyalgia Symptoms of fibromyalgia Causes of fibromyalgia Diagnosing fibromyalgia Treating fibromyalgia Self-help for fibromyalgia.
About fibromyalgia Fibromyalgia, also called fibromyalgia syndrome FMS , is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body. As well as widespread pain, people with fibromyalgia may also have: Treatment tends to be a combination of: Symptoms of fibromyalgia Fibromyalgia has many symptoms that tend to vary from person to person.
There may be periods when your symptoms get better or worse, depending on factors such as: Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals. Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event. Women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than are men.
Many people who have fibromyalgia also have tension headaches, temporomandibular joint TMJ disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression. While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, a variety of medications can help control symptoms. Exercise, relaxation and stress-reduction measures also may help. Doctors don't know what causes fibromyalgia, but it most likely involves a variety of factors working together.
Researchers believe repeated nerve stimulation causes the brains of people with fibromyalgia to change. This change involves an abnormal increase in levels of certain chemicals in the brain that signal pain neurotransmitters.
In addition, the brain's pain receptors seem to develop a sort of memory of the pain and become more sensitive, meaning they can overreact to pain signals. The pain and lack of sleep associated with fibromyalgia can interfere with your ability to function at home or on the job. The frustration of dealing with an often-misunderstood condition also can result in depression and health-related anxiety. Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits mean health care like they've never experienced.
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During the holidays last? Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission. This content does not have an English version. This content does not have an Arabic version. Overview Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues.
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Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals. Symptoms. Fibromyalgia is a painful and frustrating condition to live with. ~ Here are the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia and how to deal with. Fibromyalgia is largely understood disorder characterized by widespread chronic pain. Learn more about the symptoms, cause, diagnosis, and.