Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition. It causes pain and tenderness in connective tissues and muscles. Often, there are also many sore areas throughout the body. Symptoms may also include stiffness and feelings of numbness and tingling. Symptoms may be worse when you wake up. They may increase with poor sleep, heavy activity, cold or damp weather, anxiety, or stress.

People with fibromyalgia often feel tired. They may have trouble sleeping. Other symptoms include morning stiffness, headaches, and painful menstrual periods. Some people have problems with thinking clearly and changes in memory.

The cause of fibromyalgia isn't known. Symptoms are a lot like those of other diseases. These include rheumatoid arthritis, low thyroid, chronic fatigue syndrome, and Lyme disease. In some cases, these diseases may occur together.

Fibromyalgia is often treated with medicines. You and your healthcare provider can discuss the medicine that may work best for you. You may have to try more than 1 medicine or combination of medicines before you find what works for you.

Home care

  • If your healthcare provider has prescribed or advised medicines, take them as directed.

  • Rest as needed. Try to get enough sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, tell your provider. 

  • Be active. Regular exercise can help manage symptoms. Some options include walking, swimming, and biking. Strengthening and aerobic exercises may also be helpful. Talk to your provider about the best ways to be active.

  • Follow a healthy diet. Limit caffeine and alcohol. If you smoke, ask your provider for help to stop.

  • Notice how your body reacts to stress. Learn to listen to your body signals. This will help you take action before the stress becomes severe.

  • Learn relaxation methods. Also consider joining a stress reduction program or class.

  • Talk to your provider about trying complementary treatments. These include acupuncture, hypnosis, and biofeedback. Yoga and tai chi may be helpful.

  • Ask your provider about cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This type of counseling can help people with fibromyalgia cope better with their illness.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider as advised. In many cases, fibromyalgia is best treated with a team approach. This may include your primary care provider, a rheumatologist, a physical therapist, and a mental health provider.

For more information, visit the  National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) website at or call 877-226-4267.

When to get medical advice

Contact your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Symptoms get worse or new symptoms develop

  • You feel hopeless, helpless, or lose interest in day-to-day life

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