Fibromyalgia can occur at any age, though the average age at diagnosis is between 35 to 45 years, but most people experience symptoms earlier in life. Fibromyalgia affects about 4 million adults in the U.S. and it is more common in women than in men.
What Are Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
Symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
- Pain and stiffness all over the body
- Increased sensitivity to pain
- Morning stiffness
- Sleep problems
- Headaches, including migraines
- Tingling or numbness in hands and feet
- Problems with thinking, memory, and concentration (called “fibro fog”)
- Pain in the face or jaw, including temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ)
- Digestive problems
- Abdominal pain
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Painful menstrual periods
A fibromyalgia attack, or flare-up, is when symptoms of fibromyalgia temporarily increase in frequency or intensity.
How Is Fibromyalgia Diagnosed?
Fibromyalgia is diagnosed with a patient history and physical exam, along with tests such as:
- Blood tests
Diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia may include:
- A history of widespread pain and symptoms lasting more than 3 months
- The number of areas throughout the body in which pain has occurred in the past week, based on the total of number of painful areas out of 19 parts of the body, plus the level of severity of these symptoms:
- Waking unrefreshed
- Cognitive (memory or thought) problems
- No other health problems that explain the pain and other symptoms
What Is the Treatment for Fibromyalgia?
Treatment for fibromyalgia may include:
- Self-management/lifestyle changes
- Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications
- Tramadol (Ultram) for severe pain (short-term use only)
- Pregabalin (Lyrica) to help treat nerve pain
- Duloxetine (Cymbalta) and minacipran (Savella) to treat pain and fatigue
- Older drugs that affect the same brain chemicals such as amitriptyline (Elavil) and cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril)
- Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), amitriptyline (Elavil), gabapentin (Neurontin) or pregabalin (Lyrica) for sleep problems
- Patient education classes, usually in primary care or community settings
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to treat depression
- Stress management techniques
- Complementary therapies
- Chiropractic therapy
- Movement therapy