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Fibromyalgia

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Fibromyalgia is pain and stiffness in the muscles, ligaments and tendons. It is not arthritis because it does not affect the joints, although the joints might hurt.

Fibromyalgia may affect one part of the body or several different areas such as the limbs, neck and back.

There is no simple cure for fibromyalgia, but there are ways of managing your symptoms. 

Download our factsheet on fibromyalgia

Discuss fibromyalgia with others who have the condition

What happens?

It is thought that people with fibromyalgia are unable to obtain the deep restorative sleep our bodies need. This leads to a cycle of fatigue and pain.

There are usually aches all over the body although there will be certain areas where the pain is more localised.

How will it affect me?

Some of the main symptoms are:

  • pain
  • fatigue and exhaustation
  • sleep disturbance and waking up feeling unrefreshed
  • aching and stiffness
  • headaches
  • concentration problems
  • irritable bowels

Feeling tired a lot of the time can make it hard to carry out simple every day tasks such as doing housework or going to work. This can also make you feel frustrated and depressed.

How is it treated?

Your doctor may prescribe you with:

  • painkillers or non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) to help with the pain
  • a steroid injection into a joint to reduce pain
  • antidepressants to help with the pain, sleep disturbance and depression
  • anti-convulsion drugs, normally used to treat epilepsy

It is very important to have an active lifestyle when you have fibromyalgia. Aerobic exercises, such as swimming and walking, will reduce pain and fatigue, build strength in your muscles, and help you lose weight. This, in turn, could help you to sleep and feel better.

How can I find out more?

Fibromyalgia Association UK can provide further support and information.

The Arthritis Care Helpline is available to answer any specific questions you may have on all aspects of arthritis.




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