Fibromyalgia

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Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic pain problem that is often confused with arthritis. With fibromyalgia, there is nothing actually wrong with the joints or muscles, nor is there tissue damage. The cause of fibromyalgia is thought to be the nerves and brain amplifying pain signals. The brain loses the ability to send signals to stop pain, and over time classifies everything as a pain signal.

Fibromyalgia Causes & Symptoms

Fibromyalgia can occur after a stressful physical or emotional event or following an infection. It can be frustrating for patients trying to find treatment, as there is no specific cause. Because of this, other people might not understand or believe what you’re going through.

Symptoms of fibromyalgia include stiffness and pain - which can be worse in the morning or after activity, severe fatigue, difficulty sleeping or concentrating and emotional changes. FM is associated with other conditions including depression, irritable bowel or bladder, migraine headaches and restless leg syndrome. There is no test that shows fibromyalgia, so other conditions that cause widespread pain have to be ruled out. A healthcare professional can diagnose fibromyalgia with a thorough assessment and examination. While fibromyalgia can’t be diagnosed with an x-ray or blood test, your provider may perform those to rule out other conditions.

Fibromyalgia Treatment

Some of the treatments your physician or fibromyalgia specialist may prescribe include:

• Pain medication
• Antidepressants 
• Exercise
Physiotherapy
• Stress reduction techniques
• Cognitive behavioural therapy 

There is no one treatment for fibromyalgia. In most cases, a multidisciplinary approach using medication lifestyle strategies seems to work best.

Talk to your family physician or physiotherapist  if you'd like more information on fibromyalgia.

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Print this Action Plan and check off items that you want to discuss with your healthcare provider

  • The cause of fibromyalgia is thought to be the nerves and brain amplifying pain signals. The brain loses the ability to send signals to stop pain, and over time classifies everything as a pain signal.

  • Symptoms of fibromyalgia include stiffness and pain - which can be worse in the morning or after activity, severe fatigue, difficulty sleeping or concentrating and emotional changes.

  • Fibromyalgia is associated with other conditions including depression, irritable bowel or bladder, migraine headaches and restless leg syndrome.

  • There is no test that shows fibromyalgia, so other conditions that cause widespread pain have to be ruled out. A healthcare professional can diagnose fibromyalgia with a thorough assessment and examination.

  • Fibromyalgia treatments include pain medication, antidepressants, exercise, physiotherapy, stress reduction techniques and cognitive behavioural therapy.

Adherence:
Adhering to your medications, prescribed exercises or lifestyle changes (such as dietary changes, smoking cessation, reduced alcohol consumption, etc.) is essential to improving health outcomes successfully. Compliance to any prescribed treatment is the number one thing you can do to ensure positive changes and optimal treatment outcomes.

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