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Fibromyalgia – Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors And Treatment

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Fibromyalgia – Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors And Treatment

Fibromyalgia is a chronic medical condition, characterized by diffuse pain and tenderness in muscles and soft tissue (tendons, ligaments), localized hotspots and sleep disturbances, weakness and a variety of other symptoms. These problems can be annoying and can disrupt daily activities. Fortunately, this syndrome does not permanently affect the muscles, joints or internal organs. Fibromyalgia is defined as a chronic pain syndrome.

Fibromyalgia Causes

The exact causes of fibromyalgia are unknown. There are theories about possible causes, but there is insufficient evidence to support any of these assumptions. Because fibromyalgia is a syndrome with varied symptomatology it is very difficult to point a specific cause. This syndrome was discovered  in 1980.

  • Fibromyalgia is associated with highly sensitive nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain. Exaggerated sensitivity may result from chemical changes in the brain or spinal cord that control pain. As a result of these changes, the person feels pain more quickly and diffuse muscle pain is present.
  • Fibromyalgia is linked to brain chemical imbalance that leads to lower tolerance to pain and restless sleep with daytime fatigue. From here there is only one step to a decreased physical activity, muscles become more sensitive, more painful and more easily irritable.
  • Fibromyalgia is caused by hormonal imbalance between cortisol and growth hormone (somatotrope hormone). The release of these hormones is controlled by the pituitary gland and hypothalamus. Hormonal imbalances lead to fatigue, mood changes, memory problems, low pain tolerance and other symptoms.

Fibromyalgia Risk Factors

Some factors may increase the risk of developing fibromyalgia. Females are prone to this syndrome. A rheumatic disease (rheumatoid arthritis), an infectious disease (Lyme disease) or psychiatric problems (severe depression) may increase the chance of developing fibromyalgia. There is evidence for increased risk for fibromyalgia due to family history.
The patient who has fibromyalgia is more likely to report recurrent or persistent pain symptoms if:

  • Has frequent episodes of emotional or physical stress
  • Has more than 11 hotspots in the initial evaluation
  • Presented symptoms for many years
  • Presents insomnia or other sleep disorders
  • Is depressed or has anxiety disorders.
Stress - Fibromyalgia Risk Factor

Stress – Fibromyalgia Risk Factor

Fibromyalgia Symptoms

The variety and severity of  fibromyalgia symptoms vary from person to person. Chronic pain is the most common symptom. This is usually gradual. Other symptoms besides pain:

  • Fatigue, which interferaza work and daily activities
  • Sleep disturbances (difficulty sleeping or awakening with fatigue)
  • Morning stiffness lasting less than an hour
  • Migraines
  • Constipation or diarrhea associated with irritable bowel syndrome
  • Impaired memory and concentration
  • The feeling of anesthesia or tingling in hands and other body segments
  • Can be very sensitive skin, pressing firmly to react with tingling, or stinging anesthesia
  • Raynaud’s syndrome
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Pruritus (itching)
  • Weakness and bowel dysfunction
  • Pain in joints and muscles can be annoying especially at night, when awakening from sleep or in the morning
  • Difficulty concentrating due to fatigue.


Symptoms may last from several days to several months. People with fibromyalgia have periods of asymptomatic and symptomatic periods. Fatigue and muscle or joint pain are very common, especially after physical or mental stress. Many people experience pronounced paon at low temperatures or high humidity, do not sleep enough, are very tired, stressd or exhausted. Because fibromyalgia symptoms mimic other syndromes, the presence of other medical problems with similar symptoms must be eliminated through differential diagnosis, so that final diagnosis of fibromyalgia is correct . In many cases, other diseases are associated with fibromyalgia.

For most people, symptoms of fibromyalgia consist of low tolerance to pain and decreased physical activity. Increasing pain leads the person to be less active. Muscles that are not used for certain periods of time are prone to irritation during activity. People with fibromyalgia are more sensitive to pain and the muscles are more easily irritable. Muscle pain is associated with sleep disturbances and daytime fatigue. Together they lead to decreased activity.

Although fibromyalgia is a chronic syndrome with no treatment this condition is autolimited and does not affect muscles, joints or internal organs. Symptoms can be controlled with treatment at home, especially with exercise. Drug treatment is indicated for sleep disorders, intense pain or depression. Unfortunately, many people do not respond to several applied treatments Many people with fibromyalgia symptoms adapt on their own and continue to work and participate in daily activities, more or less. Many will have to adjust their work and lifestyle according to the severity of symptoms.

Speciality consult

You should see a doctor if you have these symptoms for more than 6 weeks without any obvious cause. These may be signs of fibromyalgia, especially if they appear gradually:

  • Diffuse muscle pain and muscle tenderness, symmetrically above and below the waist
  • Sleep disturbances (often twists during sleep), and fatigue after awakening
  • Stiff muscles and joints that do not improve with movement
  • Patients with fibromyalgia should be supervised to prevent depression. This can be successfully treated if the doctor is aware of this possibility

Medical specialists recommended .

Not every doctor finds it easy to diagnose and treat  fibromyalgia as a medical problem wich is not yet well defined. A doctor accustomed with fibromyalgia symptoms is recommended. Most experienced fibromyalgia doctors include:

  • Rheumatologist
  • Specialists in pain management physicians.

Other doctors that may be able to help patients with fibromyalgia are:

  • GPs
  • Medical interns
  • Physiotherapists

Pain management programs can help. They usually include a team of doctors, counselors, nurses and pharmacists that can help patients to find a strategy to address pain. Personal program may include medication, complementary therapy, diet, exercise and counseling.

Fibromyalgia Treatment

Currently, there is no cure for fibromyalgia. Treatment is focused on pain, fatigue, depression and other symptoms of fibromyalgia, hoping to break the vicious circle of low tolerance to pain and reduced physical activity.

Treatment may include:

  • Sleep medications as tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin inhibitors, antidepressants or skeletal muscle relaxants
  • Lowering pain medications, painkilles with free prescription
  • Physiotherapy for muscle pain and loss for energy
  • Home treatment is probably the moast important step in treating fibromyalgia. Patient efforts to do regular exercise, improve sleep and reduce stress are as important to treat fibromyalgia as any medication prescribed by your doctor.

Initial treatment

If the patient was diagnosed recently with fibromilagie, initial treatment may include:

  • Initiating a regular exercise program
  • Identification of sleep disorders
  • Decreasing pain and stiffness sensation with medication, heat and cold applications
  • Gradual reduction of stress
  • Identifying factors that accentuate symptoms.
  • Coordinated by the physician, the patient may continue treatment at home

Ongoing treatment

As for the initial treatment, home treatment is essential to treat fibromyalgia. Exercise, sleep, stress reduction, can be very useful in controlling symptoms. Fibromyalgia symptoms are present in spikes, so it is important to continue long-term treatment at home.
Prescription drugs can be useful for the improvement of symptoms as pain or sleep disorders. Treatment reconsidered by the treating physician, if the patient does not sleep. There are other alternatives. It is important to know that drugs may  need  to be changed over time.
Another important component of treatment is avoiding or limiting as favoring factors or stress that accentuate symptoms. Cold or wet weather, poor sleep, fatigue, stress and physical exhaustion or emotional factors seem to be stressful for people with fibromyalgia. Sometimes, not all of these factors can be avoided, but can find ways to reduce stress, improve sleep and avoid exhaustion.
Warning signs of depression or anxiety, common in people with fibromyalgia! These apot be successfully treated if recognized and discussed with your doctor.
Fibromyalgia patients often have other joint or muscle diseases (eg rheumatoid arthritis or lupus), which also should be treated. Any new or increased symptoms should be communicated to the physician.

Treatment if the condition gets worse

Fibromyalgia is a progressive disease and does not lead to permanent physical dysfunction. However, symptoms can be debilitating and patients may experience periods when they feel worse than usual. If new or present symptoms get worse, it is recommend to discuss them with your doctor. It can reassess treatment. Medication dosage can be adjusted or new drugs can be tryed. Patients can do too much exercise or too little depending on the case
At the same time it is possible that changes to be correlated with symptoms of other diseases apart from fibromyalgia. Your doctor can assess this possibility only if you communicate with him.

Fibromyalgia Home treatment

Although fibromyalgia is a chronic syndrome, the patient can do very much to reduce and control symptoms. Home treatment is the most important part of treatment of fibromyalgia and is based on:

  • Regular exercise. Of all the treatments of fibromyalgia, exercise seems to bring the most benefit in reducing pain and other symptoms and improve the overall condition
  • Improving sleep
  • Relieving pain. High temperatures and low therapy, massage, light exercise and administration of pain killers.
  • Reducing stress
  • Information about fibromyalgia.

Lifestyle should be adjusted so that it includes treatment, especially regular exercise. It may take some time until there is a program adapted to each case. The person must have patience and continue the treatment at home that will eventually relieve or control symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia Home Treatment

Fibromyalgia Home Treatment

Other treatments

A variety of drugs have been used to treat some chronic pain conditions. Most of these alternative complementary therapy treatments are not specific for fibromyalgia, but can help and can improve quality of life. Safe complementary therapies like acupuncture or massage, for example, can help reduce stress, decrease muscle tension and improve overall. Other treatments that can be used for fibromyalgia include:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Massage therapy
  • Injection of anesthetic sensitive point
  • Attitude of knowledge of the disease and forms of counseling

Studies show that some relaxation techniques may be effective in relieving fibromyalgia pain

  • Biofeedback
  • Acupuncture
  • Meditation or prayer
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation

Other complementary therapies that have been tried by people with fibromyalgia are:

  • Dietary supplements
  • Vitamins
  • Phytotherapy
  • Reflexology, which consists of applying pressure on certain points of the body with effects on other body parts
  • Chiropractic treatment