Key Points about Fibromyalgia (Fibrositis)
- Fibromyalgia occurs much more often in females than in males.
- There is no diagnostic test for this condition, so other conditions that cause similar symptoms must first be ruled out.
- While there is currently no cure for fibromyalgia, treatment focuses on managing symptoms so you can go about your daily life comfortably.
Fibromyalgia (Fibrositis) is a condition that causes musculoskeletal pain throughout the body, as well as fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Experts believe that fibromyalgia causes these symptoms by affecting the way your brain processes and interprets pain signals. Many people with fibromyalgia have other health conditions, such as tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, anxiety, depression, restless legs syndrome (RLS), sleep apnea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Although experts haven’t pinpointed the exact cause of fibromyalgia, they believe the following factors may play a role:
- Certain infections
- Physical or emotional trauma
Fibromyalgia risk factors
Factors that put a person at an increased risk for developing fibromyalgia are:
- Being female
- Having a family history of fibromyalgia
- Having osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or lupus
Signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia may include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Pain that occurs throughout the body and lasts at least three months
- Trouble concentrating or paying attention
If you have had widespread pain for at least three months and other possible causes have been ruled out with blood tests or other exams, your specialist may diagnose you with fibromyalgia. There is no test to diagnose fibromyalgia.
There is no cure for fibromyalgia. However, a specialist may recommend one or more of the following treatment options to help manage the symptoms of your condition:
- Medications. Your specialist may prescribe medication – such as pain relievers, antidepressants or anti-seizure medications – to help manage symptoms related to the condition.
- Lifestyle modifications. Your doctor may recommend lifestyle modifications that can help control symptoms. These may include reducing day-to-day stress, getting enough sleep, getting regular exercise, limiting your caffeine intake and eating a healthy, balanced diet.
- Therapy. Your specialist may recommend you work with a therapist – such as a physical therapist, occupational therapist or counselor – to help you learn coping strategies to live a full life with fibromyalgia.
When should I seek care?
If you experience any of these symptoms, start by voicing your concerns and symptoms to your primary care provider. From there, your doctor may suggest seeing a rheumatologist for more specialized treatment.