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Fibromyalgia: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Sep 14, 2023

Fibromyalgia: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Numerous physical pains, exhaustion, sleep disturbances, cognitive impairment, and mood swings are all signs of fibromyalgia. Researchers think fibromyalgia increases pain by altering how your brain and spinal cord process information about pain and non-pain.

A few factors that typically lead to symptoms emerging later include physical trauma, surgery, an illness, or a considerable lot of mental stress. There may not always be a clear reason, and the symptoms may develop gradually over time.

According to a study, fibromyalgia affects women more frequently than it affects males. Tension headaches, TMJ issues, IBS, anxiety, and depression are widespread among those with fibromyalgia.

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Symptoms Of Fibromyalgia

Numerous medications can be used to treat the symptoms of fibromyalgia, but the illness has no recognized cure. Exercise and relaxation are two strategies for stress reduction that may be helpful.

Fibromyalgia's main signs and symptoms are as follows:

  • Widespread pain. A persistent, dull ache that has lasted for at least three months is a popular way to describe the pain caused by fibromyalgia. To be considered broad, the pain has to be felt on both sides of your body, above and below your waist.
  • Fatigue. Fibromyalgia patients frequently wake up feeling fatigued, despite their claims of having slept for a very long time. In addition to other sleep disorders including sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome, fibromyalgia patients frequently experience pain while they are asleep.
  • A cognitive difficulty. Concentration, attention, and mental focus are all challenged by the fibro fog symptom.

Numerous more conditions, including:

  • The irritable bowel syndrome
  • Syndrome of persistent fatigue
  • Headaches such as migraines
  • A painful bladder condition or interstitial cystitis
  • Disorders of the temporomandibular joint
  • Anxiety Depression
  • The syndrome of postural tachycardia

Causes Of Fibromyalgia

Numerous studies think that fibromyalgia patients' brains and spinal cords change as a result of frequent nerve stimulation. This change results in the abnormal increase of particular pain-signaling molecules in the brain.

Furthermore, it seems that the brain's pain receptors develop a kind of pain memory and become overly sensitive to both painful and nonpainful impulses.

These changes are likely brought on by a number of factors, such as:

  • Genetics. Given that fibromyalgia typically runs in families, particular genetic changes may raise your risk of developing the illness.
  • Infections. Some diseases seem to cause or worsen fibromyalgia.
  • Emotional or physical occurrences. A physical occurrence, such a vehicle accident, may occasionally cause fibromyalgia to develop. Psychological stress that persists may also contribute to the condition.

Risk Factors Of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is associated with a number of risk factors, such as:

  • Sexuality. Compared to men, women are diagnosed with fibromyalgia more commonly.
  • History of the family. You could be more likely to get fibromyalgia yourself if your parent or sibling does.
  • Different illnesses. You may be more prone to developing fibromyalgia if you suffer from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus.
  • In the past, doctors would examine a patient's body at 18 precise places to see how many of them hurt when pressed hard. A tender point exam is not necessary according to more recent American College of Rheumatology recommendations.

Diagnosis Of Fibromyalgia

Instead, persistent widespread pain for at least three months is the key requirement for a fibromyalgia diagnosis.

You must experience pain in at least four of these five regions in order to meet the requirements:

  • Shoulder, arm, or jaw in the left upper body
  • Shoulder, arm, or jaw of the right upper body
  • Left hip, buttock, or leg in the lower body
  • Hip, buttock, or leg in the right lower body
  • Axial region, which encompasses the chest, back, belly, and neck


 Your doctor may want to rule out other illnesses that could have similar symptoms. The following blood tests are possible:

  • Total blood count
  • Rate of erythrocyte sedimentation
  • Test for cyclic citrullinated peptides
  • The rheumatoid factor
  • Thyroid function evaluations
  • Antibodies towards nuclear substances
  • Celiac disease serology
  • Taking Vitamin D

Your doctor might advise an overnight sleep study if they suspect you have sleep apnea.

Treatment Of Fibromyalgia

The majority of fibromyalgia treatments incorporate both medical interventions and self-care methods. The goal is to improve general health while minimising symptoms. While there isn't a single treatment for all symptoms, trying several things over time can be beneficial.


Medication can ease the discomfort associated with fibromyalgia and improve sleep. Typical choices consist of:

  • Painkilling medications. Over-the-counter analgesics like acetaminophen (Tylenol, among others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, among others), or naproxen sodium (Aleve, among others) may be helpful. 
  • Opioid drugs are not advised because they can create serious adverse effects, dependence, and will eventually make the pain worse.
  • Antidepressants. The antidepressants duloxetine (Cymbalta) and milnacipran (Savella) may reduce fibromyalgia-related pain and fatigue. To aid in promoting sleep, your doctor may advise amitriptyline or the muscle relaxant cyclobenzaprine.
  • Anti-seizure medications. Certain types of pain are frequently diminished by drugs used to treat epilepsy. Pregabalin (Lyrica) was the first medication recognised by the Food and Drug Administration to treat fibromyalgia, while gabapentin (Neurontin) is occasionally beneficial in easing the symptoms of the condition.


The impact that fibromyalgia has on your body and your life can be lessened with a range of different therapies. Some instances are:

  • Physical exercise. Your strength, flexibility, and endurance can all be increased with the help of physical therapy exercises. Water-based exercises could be especially beneficial.
  • Occupational medicine. With the help of an occupational therapist, you can change your workstation or the way you perform particular tasks to lessen the stress on your body
  • Counselling. Speaking with a counsellor can boost your self-confidence and give you coping mechanisms for difficult circumstances.

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