Identifying Fibromyalgia Symptoms and Treatment

Fibromyalgia is a nerve condition that causes widespread pain throughout the body. It is not diagnosed through diagnostic testing. The identification is made by located tender points at various locations of the body and testing to rule out other illnesses. There are 3 million cases diagnosed annually in the US. There is no cure. The exact cause is not known; however, it may be due to the following:


  • infection – can trigger Fibromyalgia or make symptoms worse
  • genetics – there is a genetic association and tends to run in families
  • trauma – physical or emotional trauma. Often seen in people with PTSD.


Symptoms include:

  • widespread pain
  • stiffness on waking or from not changing positions while sleeping
  • sleep difficulties like insomnia or waking feeling tired
  • chronic fatigue
  • cognitive difficulties like fibro fog
  • memories deficits, focus and concentration
  • abdominal pain, bloating, alternating constipation and diarrhea
  • sensitivity to odors, noise, bright lights, medicines, foods and cold or heat
  • anxiety and depression
  • numbness and tingling in extremities, fingers, and feet
  • irritable bladder
  • decreased tolerance for exercise

Physical therapy, occupational therapy and counseling may help with functioning and coping with associated discomforts

Treatment involves medication and lifestyle changes. Some medications prescribed include:

  • pain relievers for pain and aching
  • antidepressants for anxiety and depression
  • anti-seizure medications help reduce symptoms


Self-care plays a role in controlling symptoms. Reducing emotional and mental stress through meditation, relaxation techniques, and deep breathing may help along with a healthy diet, exercise and maintaining a healthy weight. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and counseling may help with functioning and coping with associated discomforts.


Fibromyalgia has been around for centuries. Original diagnosis was muscle or soft tissue rheumatism. In 1904, Sir William Gowers described it as fibrositis for the first time. It was indicative that pain was present and part of the patients experience.

In 1976, the “itis” was dropped and the name fibromyalgia syndrome became the new name. By the late 1990’s research uncovered evidence that fibromyalgia was an entity in itself.

In his article “Fibromyalgia: A Clinical Review” published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), April 16, 2014, Dr. Dan Clauw, Director of the University of  Michigan’s Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center expands on current scientific thought regarding the type of pain experienced by people with fibromyalgia:

“Fibromyalgia can be thought of as a centralized pain state. Centralized pain is a lifelong disorder beginning in adolescence or young adulthood manifested by pain experienced in different body regions at different times…they feel more pain than would normally be expected based on the degree of nociceptive input.