We do know certain things suggest you’re more likely to get it:
Simply put, you ache all over. Common symptoms include:
- Muscle pain, burning, twitching, or tightness
- Low pain threshold or tender points
- Draining fatigue
- Trouble concentrating and remembering, called “fibro fog”
- Insomnia or not sleeping well
- Feeling nervous, worried, or depressed
Fibromyalgia can feel similar to osteoarthritis, bursitis, and tendinitis. But rather than hurting in a specific area, the pain and stiffness could be throughout your body.
Other fibro symptoms can include:
Your doctor will examine you and ask you about your past medical issues and about other close family members.
There’s no test that can tell you that you have fibromyalgia. Instead, because the symptoms are so similar to other conditions, your doctor will want to rule out illnesses such as an underactive thyroid, different types of arthritis, and lupus. So you may get blood tests to check hormone levels and signs of inflammation, as well as X-rays.
If your doctor can’t find another reason for how you feel, they’ll use a two-part scoring system to measure how widespread your pain has been and how much your symptoms affect your daily life. Using those results, together you’ll come up with a plan to manage the condition.
The three drugs approved specifically for fibro pain are:
Over-the-counter painkillers may help, too. Stronger medicines, like opioids, tend not to work well in the long run, and you could become dependent on them.
Regular moderate exercise is key to controlling fibro. You’ll want to do low-impact activities that build your endurance, stretch and strengthen your muscles, and improve your ability to move easily — like yoga, tai chi, Pilates, and even walking. Exercise also releases endorphins, which fight pain, stress, and feeling down. And it can help you sleep better.
A counselor, therapist, or support group may help you deal with difficult emotions and how to explain to others what’s going on with you.