ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

I have Fibromyalgia, now what?

Updated on August 29, 2013

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia, according to the Mayo Clinic (Mayo Clinic), is “a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues…that amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.” It isn’t known at this time exactly what causes Fibromyalgia, and there is no cure at the current time. Fibromyalgia is also referred to as fibromyalgia syndrome , fibromyositis, and fibrositis (National Fibromyalgia Association). Fibromyalgia can range from mild to debilitating, and can interfere with even the most basic of daily tasks.

Fibromyalgia: What it is not

At this point, researchers claim to have ruled out auto-immune disease as the cause of Fibromyalgia. This syndrome is not contagious, but does appear to have possible genetic ties (Mayo Clinic). Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are often comparable conditions, but are two separate conditions and should be treated differently.

Signs & Symptoms of Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS)

Pain: Widespread, unexplained, chronic pain is the most common complaint from patients diagnosed with FMS (National Fibromyalgia Association). The pain can migrate to all parts of the body, and often occurs most at “tender points” throughout the body. Many patients also complain of numbness, tingling, burning, and stiffness, as well as citing that the pain may be better or worse based upon outside factors such as weather, altitude, physical activity, and stress.

Fatigue and sleep disturbances: Many people who suffer from Fibromyalgia also have sleep disorders such as Restless Leg Syndrome, Sleep Apnea, or may simply have fatigue due to restless sleep disturbed by pain and stiffness. Patients with Fibromyalgia have been found in laboratory studies to have a higher than average amount of “non-restorative” sleep, where the stage 4 deep sleep is never achieved (James, 1994). The fatigue experienced by Fibromyalgia patients is more of an exhaustion which affects occupational, personal, social, and/or educational activities.

Mental/Memory disruptions: Many people with Fibromyalgia report having issues with recalling information and concentration. This phenomenon is often referred to as “fibro fog”.

Do you have Fibromyalgia?

Have you been, or do you suspect you should be, diagnosed with Fibromyalgia?

See results

Co-existing Conditions

There are several conditions that people with Fibromyalgia may also have. Some of the most common co-existing conditions of Fibromyalgia sufferers include fatigue, anxiety, depression, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), endometriosis, headaches (tension and/or migraine are most common), bipolar disorder, lupus, arthritis, and Raynaud’s Syndrome. Not everyone with FMS will have all of these conditions, and not everyone with these conditions will have Fibromyalgia, but often times they do coincide, though the exact link is not known at this time.

Risk Factors

Risk factors for developing FMS can include your gender, genetics, history of rheumatic diseases, and physiological abnormalities. This list is not all inclusive, as research into the causes and contributing factors for this syndrome are still very much in their infancy.

Research has shown that 80-90% of those diagnosed with Fibromyalgia are women (What is Fibromyalgia, 2011). This disorder also appears to be seen in families, among siblings or mothers and their children (National Fibromylagia Association).

Fibromyalgia Tender Points Chart

Mayo Clinic Tender Points Map.  Image is property of Mayo Clinic.
Mayo Clinic Tender Points Map. Image is property of Mayo Clinic. | Source

Tests and Diagnosis

While there are currently no tests that can be ordered to diagnose Fibromyalgia, in 1990 the American College of Rheumatology established two criteria for diagnosing FMS: Widespread pain lasting at least 3 months, and at least 11 positive tender points out of a possible of 18 (Mayo Clinic). While these are the main guidelines, adopted by the World Health Organization in 1992, there are newer criteria to consider as well, such as no other underlying conditions that could be the cause of the pain.

Doctors will most likely order blood tests in an effort to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms. Some of the blood tests that may be included are a complete blood count (CBC), Erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and Thyroid function tests. It is possible to have thyroid disorders and Fibromyalgia, but ruling out these as primary causes of the symptoms is helpful in proving your condition to be FMS.



There is unfortunately no one treatment for Fibromyalgia that will work for everyone. Clinical trials are still being conducted to test pharmaceuticals, as well as group studies on the effects of sleep management and physical activity levels on pain and other symptoms. While there is no one miracle treatment for this condition, many people do see some improvement with managed care.

Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved medications such as Lyrica, Cymbalta, and Savella for the treatment of FMS. Pain may be managed through non-narcotic pain relievers such as Tramadol, or low doses of antidepressant medications. Lidocaine or “Trigger Point Injections” may be used to alleviate localized areas of pain. Stretching and light, regular exercise is also highly recommended.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)