What is fibromyalgia? What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is soft tissue rheumatism characterized by general muscle aches and chronic pain at specific points in the body. Various physical and psychological symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, and depression accompany the disease. Fibromyalgia syndrome, which is seen in about 3% of the society, is more common in women. Although the cause is not known exactly, it is estimated to be triggered by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain, areas of tenderness, and general fatigue in muscles and bones. Symptoms are subjective and cannot be measured by any test. The disease has no known clear cause and is therefore often confused with other diseases.

What are the causes of fibromyalgia?

What causes fibromyalgia has not been determined yet. However, as a result of many years of research, it has been understood that some factors trigger the disease. These factors include:

  • Infections: Several previous infectious diseases can trigger fibromyalgia or worsen symptoms.
  • Genetic factors: Fibromyalgia is often more common among family members. Researchers think that certain genetic mutations may play a role in the development of fibromyalgia. But the genes related to the disease have not been identified yet.
  • Trauma: Fibromyalgia may occur in people who have experienced physical or emotional trauma . The disorder has been associated with post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Stress: A source of stress, such as physical or emotional trauma, can have long-term effects on the body that last for months or years. Stress has been associated with hormonal disorders that can contribute to fibromyalgia .
  • Personality structure: It is mostly seen in individuals who are sensitive, perfectionists and have a personality structure that is quickly affected by events.
  • Physical or emotional events. Fibromyalgia can sometimes be triggered by a physical event such as a car accident. Prolonged psychological stress can also trigger the condition.

The factors that cause people to experience chronic widespread pain in fibromyalgia syndrome are still not fully understood. Some theories suggest that the brain lowers the pain threshold due to various factors, and something that was not painful before becomes very painful over time. According to another theory, nerves and receptors in the body become more sensitive to stimuli. This means that individuals may overreact to pain signals and feel unnecessary or exaggerated pain.

Although the causes are not clear, fibromyalgia episodes may be the result of stress, physical trauma, or an unrelated systemic illness such as the flu. Overreaction of the brain and nervous system by misinterpreting normal pain signals can be caused by an imbalance in a chemical substance in the brain.

What is fibromyalgia? What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?

Symptoms of fibromyalgia

The main symptoms of fibromyalgia include:

  • Common pain. The pain associated with fibromyalgia is generally defined as a persistent dull pain lasting at least three months. To be considered common, the pain must be on both sides of your body and above and below your waist.
  • Tiredness. People with fibromyalgia often wake up tired, despite reporting long periods of sleep. Sleep is often disturbed by pain, and many patients with fibromyalgia have other sleep disorders such as restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea.
  • Cognitive difficulties. A symptom, often referred to as “fibro fog,” impairs the ability to focus, pay attention, and concentrate on mental tasks.

Apart from pain in the sensitive points mentioned above , there are other symptoms seen in fibromyalgia . Fibromyalgia symptoms are listed below:

  • Tiredness
  • Sleep problems
  • Not feeling rested despite sleeping for a long time and having trouble getting out of bed
  • Headache
  • Depressed mood
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty focusing or paying attention
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Trouble breathing
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Lack of resistance and fatigue against exercise

What are the risk factors?

It is more common in women than men. 80 to 90% of patients are women. The incidence of the disease is high in individuals with fibromyalgia in their families. Although fibromyalgia is not a form of arthritis, having a rheumatic disease such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis can also increase the risk of developing the disease.

Risk factors

  • Age. It is diagnosed more often in women than men.
  • Family history. You may be more likely to develop fibromyalgia if a parent or sibling also has the condition.
  • Other disorders. You may be more likely to develop fibromyalgia if you have osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus.

Several other factors have been poorly associated with the onset of fibromyalgia, but more research is needed to see if these are true. These possible risk factors include:

  • Sex. Women are twice as likely to have fibromyalgia than men.
  • Stressful or traumatic events such as car accidents, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Repetitive injuries. Injury due to repetitive stress on a joint, such as frequent knee bending.
  • Disease (such as viral infections)
  • Family history
  • Obesity

What are the fibromyalgia spots?

Fibromyalgia also often has areas of the body called trigger points or tender points. Fibromyalgia spots include 18 different areas that can cause pain even with mild pressure. Today, these points are rarely used to diagnose fibromyalgia. Instead, these points may be preferred as a way to rule out suspected diseases. The pain caused by these trigger points can be described as a consistent dull pain affecting many areas of the body. According to the old method, if there is widespread pain and sensitivity in at least 11 of the 18 known trigger points, the person is diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Some of the trigger points include:

  • Back of the head
  • Off the shoulder
  • Upper chest
  • Hips
  • Knees
  • Elbows

Fibromyalgia spots are no longer the focal point for diagnosis. Instead, fibromyalgia may be diagnosed if there is widespread pain that persists for more than three months and there is no diagnosable medical condition that might explain the pain

How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?

According to the updated diagnostic criteria, patients with widespread pain for three months or more and not based on medical reasons are diagnosed with fibromyalgia. There is no lab test that can detect fibromyalgia. Blood tests can be used to rule out other causes of chronic pain.

In the past, doctors used to check 18 specific points on a person’s body to see how many were painful when pressed firmly. The new guidelines of the American College of Rheumatology do not require a tender score exam.

Instead, the main factor required for fibromyalgia diagnosis is widespread pain in your body for at least three months.

To meet the criteria, you must have pain in at least four of these five areas:

  • Upper left area, including shoulder, arm, or chin
  • Right upper area including shoulder, arm, or chin
  • Lower left area, including buttocks, hips, or legs
  • Right lower area, including buttocks, hips, or legs
  • Axial region including neck, back, chest, or abdomen


Your doctor may want to rule out other conditions that may have similar symptoms. Blood tests may include:

  • Complete blood count
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
  • Cyclic citrullinated peptide test
  • Rheumatoid factor
  • Thyroid function tests
  • Anti-nuclear antibody
  • Celiac serology
  • Vitamin D

If you’re likely to have sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend a night sleep study.

How are fibromyalgia attacks?

Generally, aggravated pain and increased fatigue are the hallmarks of fibromyalgia attacks. During an attack, symptoms such as poor sleep quality, pessimistic negative thoughts, digestive problems such as acid reflux, swelling in the arms and legs, numbness and tingling are seen.


Fibromyalgia can purpose pain, disability, and a decreased best of life. US adults with fibromyalgia might also additionally have headaches along with:

  • More hospitalizations. If you’ve got fibromyalgia you’re two times as in all likelihood to be hospitalized as a person without fibromyalgia.
  • Lower best of life. Women with fibromyalgia might also additionally revel in a decrease best of life.
  • Higher costs of essential despair. Adults with fibromyalgia are greater than three instances much more likely to have essential despair than adults without fibromyalgia. Screening and remedy for despair are extraordinarily important.
  • Higher loss of life costs from suicide and accidents. Death costs from suicide and accidents are better amongst fibromyalgia patients, however ordinary mortality amongst adults with fibromyalgia is just like the overall population.
  • Higher costs of different rheumatic conditions. Fibromyalgia regularly co-takes place with different kinds of arthritis along with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and ankylosing spondylitis.

How is fibromyalgia treatment done?

The goal of treatment is to manage pain and improve quality of life. This is done through a two-step approach that includes lifestyle changes and medication use.

What are fibromyalgia medications?

Drugs commonly used in the treatment ;

  • Pain relievers: Pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen may be recommended by your doctor. In cases of extreme pain, some medications subject to special prescription can also be used. It is used in minimal doses and for short periods to reduce the risk of side effects and addiction.
  • Antidepressants: Antidepressant medications are sometimes used to treat anxiety or depression associated with fibromyalgia . These medications can also help improve sleep quality and reduce chronic pain.
  • Antiepileptic medications: Gabapentin is produced to treat epilepsy, but may help reduce symptoms in people with fibromyalgia . The FDA has also approved pregabalin for the treatment of fibromyalgia. Due to the severe side effects of this group of drugs, it must be used under the supervision of a doctor.

Physical therapy, complementary medicine methods and relaxation techniques can give effective results in the treatment of fibromyalgia . In treatment;

  • Acupuncture
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Massage therapy
  • A balanced and healthy diet
  • Regular exercise
  • Getting enough sleep at night can also be effective.


A range of various treatment options can assist lessen the impact that fibromyalgia has on your frame and your life. Examples include:

  • Physical therapy. A bodily therapist can train you in physical activities in order to enhance your strength, flexibility, and stamina. Water-primarily based totally physical activities are probably specifically helpful.
  • Occupational therapy. An occupational therapist assists you to make changes in your paintings region or the manner you carry out sure duties in order to purpose much less strain to your frame.
  • Counseling. Talking with a counselor can assist give a boost to the notion of your abilities and train you techniques for coping with demanding situations.

Lifestyle and domestic remedies

Self-care is essential withinside the control of fibromyalgia.

  • Stress control. Develop a plan to keep away from or restrict overexertion and emotional strain. Allow yourself time every day to relax. That may also imply studying how to mention no without guilt. But attempt now no longer to extrude your ordinary completely. People who cease paintings or drop all interest generally tend to do worse than do folks that continue to be active. Try strain control techniques, together with deep-respiratory sporting activities or meditation.
  • Sleep hygiene. Because fatigue is one of the fundamental additives of fibromyalgia, getting correct excellent sleep is essential. In addition to meeting out sufficient time for sleep, exercise correct sleep habits, together with going to mattress and getting up on the identical time every day and proscribing sunlight hours napping.
  • Exercise often. At first, exercising may also boom your pain. But doing it progressively and often regularly decreases signs and symptoms. Appropriate sporting activities may also consist of walking, swimming, biking, and water aerobics. A bodily therapist assists you to increase a domestic exercising program. Stretching, correct posture and rest sporting activities are also helpful.
  • Pace your self. Keep your interest on a fair level. If you do an excessive amount of for your correct days, you could have extra terrible days. Moderation approach now no longer overdoing it for your correct days, however, likewise, it approaches now no longer self-prescribing or doing too little on the times whilst signs and symptoms flare.
  • Maintain a wholesome lifestyle. Eat wholesome foods. Do now no longer use tobacco products. Limit your caffeine intake. Do something which you discover exciting and pleasurable each day.

Which doctor should be visited?

Patients can refer to a rheumatologist or physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist for diagnosis. A multidisciplinary approach is required in treatment. The patient’s treatments are planned under the follow-up of the physical therapy and rehabilitation physician. In addition, the help of a psychiatric doctor or psychologist is also very important. Physiotherapist and occupational therapist; performs supportive applications such as massage, physical therapy, occupational therapy.

What are ways to prevent fibromyalgia?

It is a condition that negatively affects the quality of life. To be protected from fibromyalgia and its negative effects;

  • Exercising regularly
  • Getting regular and adequate sleep
  • Avoiding beverages such as tea and coffee that can disrupt sleep patterns
  • Avoiding stressful situations and environments
  • Eat healthy
  • To benefit from applications such as physical therapy, spa therapy, massage regularly
  • Lifestyle changes such as spending time with yourself, spending time with loved ones and having hobbies that you enjoy are very effective methods.

What are fibromyalgia exercises?

Exercising is of great benefit in controlling fibromyalgia symptoms and attacks. Exercises that provide a proper posture in the body, strengthen the muscles, and increase their endurance are an integral part of the fibromyalgia treatment. It is seen that there is relief in pain and fatigue and improvement in sleep problems in exercisers. But vigorous exercise can make fibromyalgia symptoms worse. Therefore, fibromyalgia patients should be careful, they should start exercising with light movements without exerting too much effort. First of all, light activities such as walking, swimming, cycling can be done. As the muscles develop over time, activities can be planned for longer periods and more different exercises can be started. Aerobic, stretching, and strengthening exercises can be started in short periods and increased gradually.

Physiotherapy For fibromyalgia

Frequently Asked Question

How does a person get fibromyalgia?
It is often triggered by a stressful event, including physical stress or emotional (psychological) stress. Possible triggers for the condition include an injury. a viral infection.

How does a fibromyalgia attack feel?
A patient with fibromyalgia typically presents with the following: Common pain: The pain is constant and dull and lasts for at least three months. Pain occurs all over the body, on both sides of the body, and above and below the waist. Pain can be moderate to excruciating.

What kind of disease is fibromyalgia?
This disease was formerly classified as an inflammatory musculoskeletal disease but is now considered a disease that primarily affects the central nervous system.

How serious is fibromyalgia?
It is usually a lifelong chronic disease. But it is not a progressive disease, meaning it won’t get worse over time. It also won’t damage your joints, muscles, or organs. Taking steps to treat fibromyalgia can help relieve your symptoms.

How do you get tested for fibromyalgia?
You can call fibromyalgia a mimetic condition. Its main symptoms – widespread pain and fatigue – are very similar to other health problems. And there are no tests or scans that can diagnose it, so it can be difficult for your doctor to find out what’s causing your aches and pains.

Does fibromyalgia always hurt?

Diffuse pain. The pain associated with it is generally defined as a persistent dull pain lasting at least three months. To be considered common, the pain must be on both sides of your body and above and below your waist.

Does fibromyalgia cause weight gain?
The disabling pain and fatigue you feel with fibromyalgia can leave you sedentary and overweight – up to 30 pounds for some patients. Other symptoms and even your medications may also be contributing factors. And this only makes the ailments worse.

What is the new name for fibromyalgia?
Myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome (ME / CFS) is a serious, long-term disease affecting many-body systems. People with ME / CFS are often unable to do their usual activities.

What is the best pain reliever?
Duloxetine (Cymbalta) and milnacipran (Savella) can help relieve pain and fatigue associated with this disease. Your doctor may prescribe amitriptyline or the muscle relaxant cyclobenzaprine to promote sleep. Anti-seizure medications.

Which organs are affected by fibromyalgia?
It is a systemic disease that mainly affects the muscles, their attachments (tendons, ligaments), and covers (fascia). It can be considered soft tissue rheumatism. It can also affect many other parts of the body, including the stomach, intestines, and female organs.

Can you lose your ability to walk with this disease?
It can also affect your ability to lift, carry, push, pull, and grip. Those who experience joint pain as a result of this disease may also have difficulty bending, lifting, walking, and performing other common actions required in physical work.

Is fibromyalgia a mental illness?
Some people believe it is a new condition, but it has been around for centuries. It was once considered a mental disorder. However, in the early 1800s, it was classified as a rheumatic disease that caused stiffness, pain, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping. Fibromyalgia tender spots were discovered in the early 1820s.

Is fibromyalgia a handicap?
According to this disease Syndrome, It can be defined as a disability and Personal Independence Payment may apply to you. Like the Disability Living Allowance, assistance is given to people who are unable to work and have difficulty coping on their own.

What is the newest treatment for fibromyalgia?
Milnacipran and duloxetine. Two new SNRIs, milnacipran and duloxetine, have recently been subjected to multicenter trials and have been shown to be effective in a range of outcome variables (Arnold et al. 2004b; Vitton et al. 2004). These new drugs promise to reduce pain symptoms in this disease.

What is the best muscle relaxant for this disease?
Two muscle relaxants called Zanaflex and Flexeril are among the medications used to treat this disease.

Is fibromyalgia a type of arthritis?
It causes pain, tenderness, fatigue, sleep problems, and other health problems. It causes pain and extreme fatigue in the body. It can be mistaken for arthritis as it can cause pain in the joints, muscles, and soft tissues. However, doctors view fibromyalgia as a pain disorder.

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