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Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic, arthritis-like illness. It affects the muscles, not the joints.

Signs &

Symptoms

Causes

Treatment

Questions
to Ask

Self-Care /

Prevention

•  Chronic widespread pain on both sides of the body. This lasts for at least 3 months. It is not due to any other problem. Muscle pain can be severe.

•  Pain in 11 or more of 22 “tender points.” (These are shown at right.)

•  Fatigue. Disturbed sleep. Anxiety. Depression.

These symptoms are also linked to fibromyalgia:

•  Memory lapses. Problems concentrating. Feeling confused.

•  Chronic headaches. Jaw pain. A tingling feeling in the limbs.

•  Irritable bowel. Swelling and pain in the abdomen. Gas. Constipation. Diarrhea.

Illustration of fibromyalgia spots.

The exact cause is not known. Factors thought to play a role include:

•  An illness caused by an infection. Emotional or physical trauma.

•  Hormones. Women are affected more often than men.

•  Brain chemicals and muscles don’t function like they should.

Image of doctor and patient.

•  Exercise therapy.

•  Medication to treat symptoms.

•  Massage therapy.

•  Follow the treatment plan advised by your doctor.

•  Use biofeedback.

•  Use relaxation techniques. Meditate.

•  Take warm baths.

•  Use a heating pad.

•  Massage sore muscles.

Image of treatment for fibromyalgia.

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