What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia acupuncture can help patients cope with symptoms, but it is not a cure.
Many people with fibromyalgia experience chronic fatigue and a low-grade fever.
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  • Written By: Emma F
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 21 October 2014
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Fibromyalgia is a complex, chronic disorder which currently has no known cause or cure. The symptoms most identified with Fibromyalgia are pain and fatigue. However, Fibromyalgia can also cause a range of other symptoms such as body stiffness, gastro-intestinal and urinary problems, sleep difficulties and headaches. These symptoms can come and go, intensify or decrease, as well as move around the body. As such, this disorder is very difficult to identify and is frequently misdiagnosed. Fibromyalgia is not life-threatening. However, depending on the severity of the symptoms, the disorder can be extremely or completely debilitating and create huge challenges in the daily life of the patient.

The cause of Fibromyalgia is not known, but the vast majority of sufferers are women and it tends to run in families. It is generally believed to be a condition of the brain, and there is a wide variability in how patients develop Fibromyalgia, what their symptoms are, and how they respond to treatment. Popular theories are that Fibromyalgia can be triggered and exacerbated by illness, injury, stress, and sleep interruptions.

One of the most frustrating aspects of this disorder is the difficulty in diagnosing it. First, diseases such as multiple sclerosis and lupus, which Fibromyalgia frequently mimics, must be ruled out. Then the doctor can use the diagnostic criteria established by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) in 1990 for an official diagnosis.


Although there is no cure for Fibromyalgia, there are many treatments available. Prescription drugs, such as anti-depressants and anti-inflammatory medications, can be given to alleviate symptoms. Non-traditional remedies such as massage therapy and acupuncture can also be helpful. Many doctors feel that one of the most effective ways to manage the symptoms of Fibromyalgia is simple physical exercise. Although this may be difficult in the beginning, patients can start with two or three minutes and slowly build up their tolerance.


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Post 12

Many patients with fibromylaiga and myofascial pain syndrome are simply misdiagnosed. Many in reality may have a connective tissue disease called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. It is reported that maybe 80 percent of EDS patients never get a proper diagnosis in their lifetime.

You may not have obvious features of the disease such as the extensive hypermobility, but it may exist in smaller joints such as the fingers. Smooth stretchy skin is common but not always fairly obvious. Read the wisegeek article about fascia, and read my comments regarding fascia.

Post 11

Really, have you all not been offered Lyrica? I have. Actually, I turned it down for a few years because my brother scared me away from it because of side effects. Finally, my fibromyalgia became intolerable and I took the Lyrica, starting with 50 mg and working up to 150 within three or four weeks. I stayed there for a long while; it helped a little. Then I went up to 250 and the change is incredible! The pain goes away at that dose, or almost does.

It's wonderful, and it wasn't hard to get used to after the first 150. For me, it's $60 a month with insurance and worth every cent. I also take Lortab and Soma for back pain following surgery three years ago; it doesn't do much for the fibro, maybe a little.

Post 10

I've had FM for approx three years, only diagnosed a little over a year ago after being tested for every neurologic disease I can think of. Scary. Grateful that it turned out to be FM vs. Lou Gehrig's, MS, etc. I have been taking both Tramadol with acetaminophen and Nortriptyline, which have helped pain some and sleep a lot. Hope this helps someone else.

Post 9

I have fibro and I also have chronic pain from an accident. I take zytram xl 150 and now I seem to have an increase in blood pressure. Any answers?

Post 8

Ironically for pain, take caffeine. i had severe pains, no mater what. i took it a few days and when i drank coffee it went away, so i asked my pharmacist why this was and he said they where doing research on how caffeine has worked to limit physical pain and reduce some of the other symptoms associated with it.

Which i found funny because the doctor told me to avoid it (i didn't think he was helpful before this or knew much about the treatment since i even taught him several things about it.)

Post 7

I have Fibromyalgia, and got some relief with guaifenesin and avoiding MSG. Avoiding MSG is hard, but it seems like most processed food has it.

I say some, because it isn't like I'm A-OK 100 percent, but look it up on the web.

Don't buy anyone's name brand, though unless it's covered. Generic guaifenesin is available over the counter for less than $5 for a bottle.

Post 6

My family and I suffer from fibro and its very painful and a lot of people who don't understand it think we are chronic complainers but we complain because we are truly hurting.

Some days it's just painful to move. Other days it's not as bad. Some days my feet feel like I have walked on hot coals and my feet are padded with blisters. Not one truly understands this pain unless they have experienced it.

Post 5

to jperrier

i am also on zytram xl 300mg

it doesn't seem to be working for me and my fibromialga.

In fact it barely does anything at all.

Im back to taking my Tylenol with codeine to relive my pains.

I suffer from many pains -- to many to even mention.

but i thought id just add my 2 cents

Post 3

i have been told i have fm and i have not yet found ant relief and finding it very difficult to sustain a normal life. my doc has me on bacaflen and a high does of morphine and i don't want to be taking this. i need to know some options so i can stop taking these pills and find something that relieves the pain.

Post 2


i just have been reading your story and it fits almost the same as my problem of many many years. i am trying to get as much info about the disease as i can. i have put this site as my favorite as i need help. i am on a prescibed drug called zytram xl and find it is very helpul. has anyone ever heard of this analgesic?

thank you


Post 1

There is a lot of information on this site that helps to clarify fibro myalgia. I was diagnosed nearly 4 years ago after a LONG time and expensive testing which started with a colonoscopy due to over a year of continuous diarrhea. Then came the pain, lack of sleep, inability to do anything including just mashing a bowl of potatos for dinner or walking up 6 stairs! Depression set in and life became a huge chore just to get out of bed. After taking prescriptions (anti-depressants), massage, yoga, and exercising to no avail I read about hyaluronic acid and began taking it. My life turned around for the better in 3 DAYS. Its been nearly 3 years now and I am still able to live a fairly normal life. The FM symptoms are minimal and I continue to take a small dose of hyaluronic acid, exercise and yoga daily. Hyaluronic acid is inexpensive and you should know if it works for you within a week.

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