Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Last Updated: April 6 2022

Fibromyalgia is a nonspecific pain disorder with currently unknown causes, although supplements are still being investigated for the purpose of reducing this pain.

What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a syndrome that is mainly characterized by widespread chronic (>3 months) musculoskeletal pain. If severe enough, people with FM can have trouble performing activities of daily living, such as working or basic self-care tasks. Currently, there are no standard treatments.[1]

What are the main symptoms of fibromyalgia?

Chronic widespread pain is the most common and well-known symptom. However, further research has found that people with FM also experience a myriad of symptoms, such as:[2]

  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Migraines
  • Anxiety/depression
  • Digestive disturbances
  • Sensitivity to odors, lights, and sounds.
How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?

Diagnosis is based upon a thorough clinical evaluation from a healthcare provider. Currently, there are no tests for diagnosing FM. Since the symptoms of FM can also be caused by many other health conditions, other causes must be ruled out before making a definitive diagnosis. [3]

How is fibromyalgia managed, medically?

FM is typically treated with a combination of lifestyle changes and pharmacological interventions. [4]

Lifestyle changes that may be implemented include:

  • Improving sleep
  • Gradually increasing physical activity
  • Stress management
  • Dietary changes
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy

Medications that may be prescribed include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Antipsychotics
  • Medical cannabis

The treatment must be tailored to the individual's responses to any of the previously mentioned interventions.[3]

What’s the connection between diet and fibromyalgia?

Some studies found that dietary changes can improve symptoms of FM. However, the quality of these studies was poor and varied in their dietary interventions. More randomized controlled trials are needed to understand the relationship between diet and FM.[5]

Have any supplements been studied for fibromyalgia?

Since there are no standard treatments for FM, dietary supplements are often used to ameliorate symptoms. The supplements with the greatest amount of research are vitamin D and Coenzyme Q10. With that being said, the findings are inconsistent and more evidence is needed before recommendations can be made.[6]

Are there any non-medical treatments for fibromyalgia?

If initial therapies are not effective, people with FM may pursue alternative treatments to reduce symptoms. These treatments include:

  • Massage
  • Chiropractic
  • Acupuncture

The evidence surrounding these interventions is scarce. Therefore, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional before implementing any alternative treatments.[3]

What causes fibromyalgia?

The cause of FM is unknown. Current research suggests that environmental and genetic factors may play a role in the development of FM. Nonetheless, more research is needed before any conclusions can be drawn. [3]

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