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  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:



(FM; Fibromyalgia Syndrome; FMS)


Fibromyalgia is a long-lasting problem that causes a person to have muscle pain and feel weak.

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The cause is not known. It may be linked to genes, certain health problems, and stress.

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in women who are middle-aged. Other things that may raise the risk are:

  • Having other family members who have it
  • Infections
  • Stress
  • Trauma or injury
  • Sleep problems


Fibromyalgia can cause muscle pain and weakness. Other problems are:

  • Problems sleeping
  • Feelings of hopelessness; worrying a lot
  • Being sensitive to touch
  • Problems with focus, thought, or memory
  • Stiff muscles
  • Being sensitive to noises, light, or odors


The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. An exam will be done. There are no specific tests for fibromyalgia. The doctor may need to rule out other causes of pain before a diagnosis can be made.


The goal of treatment is to ease symptoms. It often includes a combination of steps. Things that may be helpful include:


Exercise at least 4 times a week for 30 minutes each time. Strength-training exercises and aerobic exercises like swimming are best.


Therapy can help to develop coping skills. It may ease stress and pain levels. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one method that teaches how thought patterns influence pain.


Medicines that may help include:

  • Antidepressants to ease pain
  • Pain relievers
  • Anti-seizure medicine to ease pain and help with sleep problems
  • Cannabinoids to help with sleep problems


Fibromyalgia cannot be prevented. The cause is not known.





  • About fibromyalgia. National Fibromyalgia Association website. Available at:
  • Fibromyalgia. American College of Rheumatology website. Available at:
  • Fibromyalgia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
  • Fibromyalgia. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at:
  • Macfarlane GJ, Kronisch C, et al. EULAR revised recommendations for the management of fibromyalgia. Ann Rheum Dis. 2017 Feb;76(2):318-328 full-text, commentary can be found in Nat Rev Rheumatol 2016 Oct;12(10);568.
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.