There are millions of Americans who are affected by the debilitating illness, fibromyalgia.  The exact cause of is unknown, but doctors do know that patients with the disorder experience an increased sensation of pain due to a glitch in the central nervous system’s processing of pain information.

Fibromyalgia symptoms vary from person to person.  Common symptoms may include:

  • Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Memory problems
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Headaches, migraines and facial pain
  • Depression, anxiety or mood swings
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth, eyes and skin
  • Heightened sensitivity to noise, odors, bright lights and touch

These factors may increase your risk for developing fibromyalgia:

  Gender—fibromyalgia is more common among women than men

  Age—symptoms of fibromyalgia usually appear during middle age

  Other Diseases—people with certain diseases may be more likely to develop fibromyalgia.   Diseases include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Spinal arthritis

Family History—if you have a relative who suffers from fibromyalgia, you may be at risk

There is no single treatment for fibromyalgia and it often requires a team approach.  Treatment options may include:

  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Pain-management and coping techniques
  • Learning how to properly balance rest and activity
  • Painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs