Fibromyalgia is a common illness, thought to affect nearly one in 20 people. There’s no specific test or scan and symptoms are similar to other conditions, which can make it hard to diagnose.
Fibromyalgia symptoms vary from person to person and can come and go. In some cases, symptoms can ease or go after a few months, however most cases are chronic (long-term).
Symptoms can be affected by:
There’s no cure, but there are treatments that can help reduce symptoms and improve your quality of life – especially if your symptoms are mild.
Fibromyalgia pain can be felt throughout your body or localised to certain areas, usually in parts of the body you use the most. It’s often continuous but can get better or worse at certain times. It can be felt as:
Fatigue can range from feeling tired to flu-like exhaustion.
Other fibromyalgia symptoms include:
Your GP will ask you questions about your medical history and current symptoms and examine areas of your body for tenderness.
Many fibromyalgia symptoms are non-specific, meaning they’re also associated with other diseases, for example:
Once other conditions have been ruled out, a fibromyalgia diagnosis may be made if:
The exact cause is unknown, but it’s likely to involve a number of factors.
Fibromyalgia can often be triggered by some kind of trauma, such as:
Although there’s no cure, there are treatments which can help you reduce at least some of the symptoms and improve your quality of life. Your doctor will probably recommend a mix of medications and other therapies depending on your symptoms. Not all treatments will work for everyone.