A  A  A   Print
Understanding Fibromyalgia

Understanding Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a complex, often misunderstood illness. Its symptoms are chronic pain, sleep problems, and fatigue.

There is no known cure for the condition, but symptoms can be eased through lifestyle changes and possibly medication.

The puzzle

FM is difficult to diagnose because there are no specific tests for it. Instead, doctors rely on symptoms and a physical examination. One of the main symptoms is widespread, aching pain. A person with FM also has very tender spots in at least 11 of 18 areas of the body.

Most people with FM also experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Ongoing tiredness that interferes with daily activities

  • Sleep problems that prevent restful sleep

  • Increased awareness of odors, noises, bright lights, and touch

Other symptoms may include irritable bowel syndrome, numbness and tingling, headaches, restless legs syndrome, memory problems, anxiety, and depression.

Ideas for self-care

Some people with the condition gain relief by taking pain relievers, sleep medication, or drugs used for anxiety or depression. Many patients, however, find a combination of the following steps can prevent their symptoms from acting up and provide relief when they do:

  • Get enough sleep. This helps avoid the fatigue that is often a prominent part of fibromyalgia.

  • Manage stress. Although stress doesn’t cause fibromyalgia, it can make symptoms much worse. Stress-management techniques, such as deep-breathing exercises or meditation, may help.

  • Exercise regularly. Many people with fibromyalgia find that gentle exercise and stretching help maintain muscle tone and reduce pain.

  • Try complementary therapies. Consider massage, acupuncture, heat or cold, yoga, cognitive therapy, and biofeedback.

 
Today's Interactive Tools
Related Items

The third-party content provided in the Health Library of phoebeputney.com is for informational purposes only and is not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. If you or your child has or suspect you may have a health problem, please consult your primary care physician. If you or your child may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 or other emergency health care provider immediately in the United States or the appropriate health agency of your country. For more information regarding site usage, please visit: Privacy Information, Terms of Use or Disclaimer.

Follow us online:

© 2014 Phoebe Putney Health System  |  417 Third Avenue, Albany, Georgia 31701  |  Telephone 877.312.1167

Phoebe Putney Health System is a network of hospitals, family medicine clinics, rehab facilities, auxiliary services, and medical education training facilities. Founded in 1911,
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (the flagship hospital) is one of Georgia's largest comprehensive regional medical centers. From the beginning, Phoebe's mission and vision
has been to bring the finest medical talent and technology to the citizens of Southwest Georgia, and to serve all citizens of the community regardless of ability to pay.