Can fibromyalgia cause fever

Are Your Aches From Flu or Fibromyalgia?

It’s cold and flu season again. And if you’re living with fibromyalgia, this time of year can be especially trying. That’s because two of the most common fibromyalgia symptoms are all-over musculoskeletal pain and fatigue — feelings similar to those experienced with a bad cold or the flu. In fact, about half of patients with fibromyalgia experience a “flu-like” illness that precedes the development of their symptoms.

So how do you know if you’ve come down with the flu, or if your aches and pains are due to fibromyalgia? There are important differences that can clue you in, including:

  • Fibromyalgia doesn’t cause fevers. “Some patients will say that their temperature is consistently a little higher or lower,” says Kim Jones, PhD, an associate professor at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland and head of the Fibromyalgia Information Foundation. But spikes in fever from fighting off an infection are not due to fibromyalgia.
  • Fibromyalgia doesn’t cause coughs and congestion. Classic cold symptoms, such as coughs, sniffles, a runny nose, and a sore throat, are not fibromyalgia symptoms.

Protect Yourself With the Flu Vaccine

It’s easier to avoid the flu than to deal with it, but many people with fibromyalgia worry that a flu shot will trigger a flare-up of fibromyalgia symptoms. According to the Arthritis Foundation, there is no known link between vaccines and fibromyalgia. Although some studies have suggested fibromyalgia may be linked to vaccines for rubella or Lyme disease, there’s not much research to back these claims up.

If you’re concerned about possible reactions to flu vaccine, anything that develops will probably be milder and short-lived compared with 10 days of the flu. Getting a yearly flu shot is also advised for people who fall into any of the following groups:

  • 50 or older
  • Pregnant
  • Those who have other chronic health problems, such as diabetes or compromised immunity
  • Those who care for vulnerable populations, such as young children or older adults

Talk with your doctor about whether you need to be vaccinated against pneumonia as well.

Coping With Flus and Colds

If you do get sick this cold and flu season, here’s how to help yourself feel better:

  • Drink fluids. Staying well hydrated is important for feeling your best with fibromyalgia, but it’s even more important during dry winter months and when you’re trying to fight off or manage a dehydrating fever.
  • Take acetaminophen (Tylenol). If you want to ease the aches and pains of fibromyalgia or flu symptoms or the soreness of a vaccination, take acetaminophen instead of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), which have not been shown to relieve fibromyalgia symptoms and can cause more gastrointestinal discomfort.
  • Treat your symptoms. Colds and flu are viral illnesses, so antibiotics won’t help. But there are ways you can treat your symptoms in order to feel better. If you are taking prescription medications for fibromyalgia or other health conditions, make sure you check with your doctor or read labels to avoid any negative interactions with cough and cold medications.
  • Practice infection prevention. Wash your hands often, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and minimize your contact with people who are sick. Fibromyalgia is not a condition of low immunity, but it’s good to avoid exposure to illness whenever possible.

Finally, if you’re confused about when to contact your doctor, follow this advice from Jones: “New headaches that are different from any in the past, and new symptoms that have not been experienced by you in the last few months, are worth running by your health care provider.”

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease that has many different characteristics such as pain in the spine, hips, shoulders, neck, and yes- even a low grade fever. Fibromyalgia can occur in all individuals, regardless of age or gender, but does occur more often in women between the ages of 30 and 59. The exact cause of fibromyalgia is not known, which has made it very difficult to figure out a cure for it. Another thing that complicates this is the fact that some fibromyalgia symptoms are also present in other diseases/disorders.

Fibromyalgia and fever are actually related because an individual who is suffering from fibromyalgia can actually have a low grade fever at any given time. There isn’t really any specific evidence that connects the two but there is that possibility that fibromyalgia can cause a fever.

Individuals who have fibromyalgia also have a very weak immune system and infections can be easily picked up while symptoms are flared up. These infections can actually lead to a much higher fever. Additionally, the severe muscle pain/tingling that is common in individuals with fibromyalgia can cause fever. Your skin will get very hot and you may or may not start sweating. Additionally, though you may feel hot and think you have a fever, the thermometer will read normal. So, you could feel hot- but not really have a fever.

Fever related to fibromyalgia symptoms can also cause your glands to swell up. This happens in both individuals with fibromyalgia and those who are only experiencing a fever. Additionally, joint pain could flare up if you’re experiencing a mild fever.

However, typically the fevers are very mild and is not the main reason for discomfort in individuals with fibromyalgia. In fact, most individuals don’t even realize that they do have a fever, but are more focused on their symptoms that are causing them the most extreme discomfort.

In some cases, individuals with fibromyalgia could start shivering before, during, or after experiencing a fever. There isn’t really any known medication that can curb a fever with fibromyalgia, so the individual will have to continue with their normal course of treatment, despite having a low grade (or high grade) fever.

The only way to avoid having a fever with fibromyalgia symptoms is by taking care to reduce the other symptoms of your fibromyalgia. Make sure to take part in regular physical exercise in order to reduce muscle stiffness. Additionally, make sure that you are consuming a proper diet that will give you plenty of energy. You will also want to make sure that you get adequate sleep, which will help you to be relaxed and help to reduce the symptoms of fatigue and such.

Consuming a balanced diet- as in consuming lots of fruits and vegetables especially- can help to reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia and fever. Vegetables have lots of fiber, which is essential for increasing metabolism and fruits have vitamins and minerals that help with repair and rebuilding of the muscles. As an individual with fibromyalgia, you should take care to avoid caffeine, processed foods, soft drinks, refined carbohydrates, and other junk food.

For those individuals who are suffering from not sleeping and high levels of stress, medications that facilitate sleep and relaxation methods can be wonderful in reducing those symptoms of fibromyalgia, which can contribute to feeling feverish.

Both not getting adequate sleep and levels of stress are related because people who are stressed out don’t get the proper amount of sleep. The less sleep you’re able to get, the more likely you are to react negatively to stress. Therefore, relaxation methods, such as massage will help you to relax, which will help you to sleep much better.

Additionally, massage can help serve to decrease pain, which helps to alleviate other symptoms. In times of extreme lack of sleep, you can use sleep medication, but be sure that you don’t become dependent upon them entirely as a way to get some sleep. Also, keep in mind that sleeping pills do come with some undesirable side effects.

In order to relive the fever that results from the pain and other symptoms of fibromyalgia, you could consider acupuncture as an option. This will typically relive the pain in the tender spots and may very well serve to reduce stress. Both massage and physical therapy actually regulates the neurotransmitters in the brain, which help your body to actually have a much higher pain threshold. This also leads to the individual to be able to more effectively overcome stress and pain.

Individuals who have fibromyalgia are prone to experiencing both spells of fever and spells of chills on occasion. In some cases, the individuals will have a fever the entire time that they’re suffering from fibromyalgia, most will actually never once experience a fever. Physicians say that individuals who are in the more advanced stages of fibromyalgia are less affected by fever and chills, and those in the early stages are more likely to be affected.

In conclusion, fibromyalgia is a chronic disease that has many different characteristics such as pain in the spine, hips, shoulders, neck, and yes- even a low grade fever. Fibromyalgia can occur in all individuals, regardless of age or gender, but does occur more often in women between the ages of 30 and 59. The exact cause of fibromyalgia is not known, which has made it very difficult to figure out a cure for it. Another thing that complicates this is the fact that some fibromyalgia symptoms are also present in other diseases/disorders.

Fibromyalgia and fever are actually related because an individual who is suffering from fibromyalgia can actually have a low grade fever at any given time. There isn’t really any specific evidence that connects the two but there is that possibility that fibromyalgia can cause a fever.

Tips For Coping With Fibromyalgia & Winter Bugs

Posted on 4th January 2016

It’s that time of year, when there are lots of bugs doing the rounds! With a condition like fibromyalgia, with increased pain and fatigue, the last thing you need is to catch a cold or the flu.

Unfortunately, if you suffer from fibromyalgia and catch a cold, it’s much more likely to stick around and be hard to shake off. The stress on the body and auto-immune system, caused by fighting off a virus can worsen fibromyalgia symptoms and can even cause a flare up.

So with the winter months on us, we thought that we would look at some ways to help you stay healthy this season:

  1. This one is the most obvious one. Wherever possible, avoid people who are poorly. If you know that someone is ill, make your excuses and arrange to see them another time. Explain that you are particularly vulnerable and people will understand.
  2. If you cannot avoid coming into contact with someone who is poorly (perhaps you live with them or you are caring for them), remember to practice good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently, remember not to touch your face, mouth and nose and change hand towels often. If water isn’t available, use a good quality hand sanitizer, which can be bought at any supermarket or chemist.
  3. Get your flu vaccination. Make an appointment to get your flu jab as soon as it is available. The flu can hit fibromyalgia sufferers harder than others, so make sure you are protected.
  4. Stick to a good bedtime routine. Sleep problems are a common symptom for fibromyalgia sufferers and can exacerbate symptoms, adding to fatigue and muscle pain. Creating a good, restful bedtime routine and making sure you get as much sleep as possible, can help you stay strong and fight off the winter bugs.
  5. Boost your immune system by making sure that you get enough rest. December is a busy month with lots to do, but make sure that you take time out to rest and put your feet up occasionally. Maybe plan ahead and create a manageable schedule to cross things off your ‘to do’ list. Wherever possible enlist some help. If you can delegate tasks to others, then that’s great! Just remember to try to avoid taking any long naps during the daytime, as this could affect your sleep pattern during the night.
  6. Boost your immune system by eating well. It’s easy to indulge in fatty, sweet foods during the festive season, but remember to make sure you get your share of immune-boosting nutrients. Remember to get your five-a-day and eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
  7. Consider taking some immune-boosting supplements. Vitamin C is great at helping boost your immune system and is also a great anti-oxidant. SAMe (S-Adenosyl methionine) is a compound that is essential for maintaining a good immune system. SAMe is produced naturally in the body, but the rate it is produced at goes down as we age.

What do you think of these tips? Have you found any of them useful, or do you have any to add. We love to hear of your experiences. Please comment below.

We do not endorse any research, studies or sources mentioned within our blogs and comments. Furthermore, we do not endorse any medical advice provided, and would strongly recommend anyone seeking medical advice to contact their local healthcare provider.

Fibromyalgia Flares: A Qualitative Analysis

Abstract

Objective. Patients with fibromyalgia report periods of symptom exacerbation, colloquially referred to as “flares” and despite clinical observation of flares, no research has purposefully evaluated the presence and characteristics of flares in fibromyalgia. The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe fibromyalgia flares in a sample of patients with fibromyalgia.

Methods. Using seven open-ended questions, patients were asked to describe how they perceived fibromyalgia flares and triggers and alleviating factors associated with flares. Patients were also asked to describe how a flare differs from their typical fibromyalgia symptoms and how they cope with fibromyalgia flares. Content analysis was used to analyze the text.

Results. A total of 44 participants completed the survey. Responses to the seven open-ended questions revealed three main content areas: causes of flares, flare symptoms, and dealing with a flare. Participants identified stress, overdoing it, poor sleep, and weather changes as primary causes of flares. Symptoms characteristic of flares included flu-like body aches/exhaustion, pain, fatigue, and variety of other symptoms. Participants reported using medical treatments, rest, activity and stress avoidance, and waiting it out to cope with flares.

Conclusions. Our results demonstrate that periods of symptom exacerbation (i.e., flares) are commonly experienced by patients with fibromyalgia and symptoms of flares can be differentiated from every day or typical symptoms of fibromyalgia. Our study is the first of its kind to qualitatively explore characteristics, causes, and management strategies of fibromyalgia flares. Future studies are needed to quantitatively characterize fibromyalgia flares and evaluate mechanisms of flares.

Introduction

Fibromyalgia is a complex disorder characterized by chronic, widespread pain, fatigue, cognitive complaints, poor sleep, and mood difficulties. While these symptoms are characteristic of fibromyalgia, patients frequently report a host of other, less well-defined symptoms that occur with varying degrees of severity, including headache, gastrointestinal symptoms, dizziness, heat/cold intolerance, numbness or tingling, and low-grade fevers . These symptoms, along with others of fibromyalgia, appear to undergo periods of exacerbation or worsening, often colloquially referred to as “flares” by patients and their health care providers.

Despite clinical observation supporting the presence of flares, no research has purposefully evaluated the presence and characteristics of flares in fibromyalgia and only a couple of publications provide even brief description of flares . In one qualitative study, participants stated that over-doing it on a “good day” could lead to fibromyalgia symptom worsening. No further description of how a flare differed from typical or “normal” fibromyalgia symptoms was provided . In a second qualitative study, participants describe flares as a “sudden increase in symptoms, usually to the point where everyday tasks become impossible” . For some patients, flares were characterized by a worsening of existing symptoms (increased or altered pain), whereas others reported new symptoms (flu-like symptoms). In a third study, patients reported that fibromyalgia flares were associated with activity and weather changes . These studies indicate that periods of symptom worsening or flares may be present in fibromyalgia, however, none of the above studies describe whether there are symptoms that are unique to flares or how flares differ from typical fibromyalgia symptoms.

The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to describe fibromyalgia flares in a well-characterized sample of patients with fibromyalgia. Using open-ended questions, we sought to understand how patients perceived fibromyalgia flares and what triggers and alleviating factors patients identified for their own symptoms (if any).

Methods

To obtain patient descriptions of fibromyalgia flares, patients were asked to respond to seven open-ended questions assessing quality, severity, and duration. The questions asked about symptoms that may appear during a flare that are not present at other times, how a flare differs from a patient’s typical fibromyalgia experience, flare triggers, and how patient’s cope with fibromyalgia flares (Table 1). Patients were each paid $20.00 for their time and participation. This study was reviewed and approved by the Mayo Clinic Institutional Review Board and all participants provided written informed consent.

Table 1

Open-ended items included on the qualitative questionnaire

Questionnaire Items

If you were describing a fibromyalgia flare to someone who had never experienced one, how would you describe it?

Do you experience any new symptoms during a fibromyalgia flare that are not typical of your everyday fibromyalgia symptoms? Please describe

How is a fibromyalgia flare different from your everyday experience of fibromyalgia symptoms?

Do you find that there are things or events that trigger a fibromyalgia flare for you? If so, please explain

How do you cope with a fibromyalgia flare?

What, if anything, reduces the symptoms of a fibromyalgia flare?

Is there any additional information you would like us to know about your fibromyalgia flares?

Questionnaire Items

If you were describing a fibromyalgia flare to someone who had never experienced one, how would you describe it?

Do you experience any new symptoms during a fibromyalgia flare that are not typical of your everyday fibromyalgia symptoms? Please describe

How is a fibromyalgia flare different from your everyday experience of fibromyalgia symptoms?

Do you find that there are things or events that trigger a fibromyalgia flare for you? If so, please explain

How do you cope with a fibromyalgia flare?

What, if anything, reduces the symptoms of a fibromyalgia flare?

Is there any additional information you would like us to know about your fibromyalgia flares?

Table 1

Open-ended items included on the qualitative questionnaire

Questionnaire Items

If you were describing a fibromyalgia flare to someone who had never experienced one, how would you describe it?

Do you experience any new symptoms during a fibromyalgia flare that are not typical of your everyday fibromyalgia symptoms? Please describe

How is a fibromyalgia flare different from your everyday experience of fibromyalgia symptoms?

Do you find that there are things or events that trigger a fibromyalgia flare for you? If so, please explain

How do you cope with a fibromyalgia flare?

What, if anything, reduces the symptoms of a fibromyalgia flare?

Is there any additional information you would like us to know about your fibromyalgia flares?

Questionnaire Items

If you were describing a fibromyalgia flare to someone who had never experienced one, how would you describe it?

Do you experience any new symptoms during a fibromyalgia flare that are not typical of your everyday fibromyalgia symptoms? Please describe

How is a fibromyalgia flare different from your everyday experience of fibromyalgia symptoms?

Do you find that there are things or events that trigger a fibromyalgia flare for you? If so, please explain

How do you cope with a fibromyalgia flare?

What, if anything, reduces the symptoms of a fibromyalgia flare?

Is there any additional information you would like us to know about your fibromyalgia flares?

Participants

Participants for this study were recruited from an existing, national registry of patients with fibromyalgia who have been seen at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN . Patients in the fibromyalgia registry were seen at Mayo Clinic between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2012 and had a diagnosis of fibromyalgia that was confirmed via medical record review. At the time of enrollment in the registry, all participants completed the Fibromyalgia Research Survey Criteria . To be eligible for this qualitative study, registry participants were between the ages of 18 and 69 years, met Fibromyalgia Research Survey Criteria at the time of enrollment, able to read and write English, and provided an email address by which we could contact them with the electronic survey.

Procedure

The survey was administered electronically using the Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap) Survey tool . Patients were selected so that the female to male ratio was 4:1. Patients were divided into the following three age groups: 18–35, 36–53, and 54–69. A random number generator was used to select 24 women and 6 men from each of the age groups (total 90 invited). Of those, 44 agreed to participate and completed the study questionnaire.

Analysis

Content analysis was used to analyze the text. Participant responses to each question were read for overall understanding of the content. Responses to the survey questions were analyzed and sorted into categories that described the meaning of the text. After all text was coded, the investigators independently reviewed the coding scheme to ensure the themes and subthemes were accurate. The few discrepancies and the final scheme was determined by consensus.

Results

A total of 44 participants completed the survey. The majority of participants were female (77%) and non-Hispanic white (93%). Fifty-seven percent of participants were married, 9% were divorced, and 34% were single. The average age of participants was 45.5 (standard deviation 14.6). Responses to the seven questions were found to demonstrate three main content areas: causes of flares, flare symptoms, and dealing with a flare. Content analysis of participant responses identified several key themes within each of these content areas. Each of these are detailed below and summarized in Table 2.

Table 2

Content areas and themes identified using content analysis

Note: Participants gave more than one response so totals do not equal 100.

*

Other symptoms include decreased concentration, muscle tightness and weakness, headaches/migraines, sensitivity to touch, sensation of swelling of hands and feet, increased intensity of emotional responses, difficulty with mood.

Table 2

Content areas and themes identified using content analysis

Note: Participants gave more than one response so totals do not equal 100.

*

Other symptoms include decreased concentration, muscle tightness and weakness, headaches/migraines, sensitivity to touch, sensation of swelling of hands and feet, increased intensity of emotional responses, difficulty with mood.

Causes of Flares

Participants hypothesized the causes of flares. Most stated a cause with only a few saying they were unable to identify a particular cause. Subthemes describing the causes of flares include stress, overdoing it, poor sleep, and weather changes.

 “Stress, Stress, Stress!”

When asked to identify causes of flares, stress was a common theme. This relationship is captured well by one participant’s comment, “Stress I would say is my BIGGEST trigger. There are days that stress makes my life awful.” Most participants used the term stress, but some also used anxiety to describe emotional turmoil related to a flare. Stress of any sort, including work and life stresses were reported. Specific examples included deadlines, emotional extremes, or upsets such as grief, family concerns, preparing to travel, and holiday stress. This is highlighted by one participant, “I find that for me I have flare ups in times of high stress with work or life.” Reactions to stress were also reported to influence flares; one participant stated that for her, flares were influenced by “extreme emotions such as grief. For instance when my best friend’s dad passed away I had a flare from the sadness I felt.”

 “Overdoing it”

Another key theme identified from participant responses was “overdoing it.” Overdoing it included physical exertion as well as variations in normal activity patterns (e.g., trips, social events). Work activity was cited as one source of overexertion, in addition to work at home that included things like yard work, cleaning, and vacuuming. Increased social activity was also described as a source of overextension. For example, one participant stated “If I am over-exerting at work, physically, or socially, I can flare.” Participants also highlighted the influence that overdoing their activities 1 day could have on the following day, for example, one participant stated “I’m an all or nothing gal. I do too much one day and can’t do anything the next.” In addition to overdoing activities, overdoing it in combination with inadequate rest was also cited as a cause by several participants. For example, one participant stated “I can induce a flare pretty easily if I work too much and don’t rest enough. If I push myself too hard … I can expect a flare in the coming days.”

 “Poor Sleep”

Difficulty sleeping or poor quality sleep was another theme identified from participant responses. One participant stated, “low sleep over a course of a couple of days or more can do it.” The relationship between poor sleep and fibromyalgia flares is obfuscated by the fact that when a patient is experiencing a flare, quality sleep often becomes more difficult to obtain. This circuitous relationship was described well by one participant, “If I don’t get enough sleep that will cause a flare-up, but it also causes me to not be able to sleep at the same time.”

 “Weather Changes”

Another common theme identified in participant responses was weather changes. Drops in barometric pressure, heat, and storms were implicated in development of a flare. Sudden changes in weather, in particular, seemed to be more problematic. One participant stated, “the changing of seasons when the weather swings really hard.” Another participant described how rapid weather fluctuations could induce rapid symptom changes, “It seems like whenever the barometric pressure changes drastically, the symptoms come on quickly and leave just as quickly.”

Flare Symptoms

When asked how flares differ from everyday symptoms of fibromyalgia, participants reported that although they may experience symptoms that are unique to a flare (e.g., flu-like body aches and exhaustion), their flare experience was largely an increased intensity of usual symptoms to the point “where it feels disabling.” “My flares are different because the pain is more intense and is continual. It carries on even after I have rested or taken medication. That’s how I distinguish between the daily fibromyalgia and a flare.” As the symptoms were more intense, they were also more difficult to manage, “I can normally work a regular 40 hour week, complete chores and errands and have somewhat of a social life with ‘normal’ fibromyalgia. With a bad flare, that’s not possible.” Common subthemes that emerged from patient-reported flare symptoms are detailed below.

 “Flu-like symptoms”

Participant responses often included description of the severe “full body aching and exhaustion” experienced during flares as akin to a severe flu and different from usual fibromyalgia symptoms. As described by one participant, “If you’ve ever had a flu sneak up on you after you went to sleep one night and you wake up with your entire body aching, you’ve got an inkling of what a flare is. It’s not gradual.” Similarly, other participants described flares as “the worst flu you’ve ever had,” “it feels like I have the flu in my bones really bad.”

 “Pain”

The pain experienced during a flare was also described as different and more severe than typical pain. According to one participant, flare pain is “intense pain that makes me not want to move or be touched.” The intensity of this pain is almost palpable in another participant’s description, “it feels like someone is taking a carrot peeler to my bones … like a giant wearing a mountain-boot is standing on that part of my body.”

 “Fatigue”

Similar to extreme pain experienced during a flare, the fatigue characteristic of a fibromyalgia flare is severe and debilitating. Participants described the fatigue as “complete exhaustion” that resulted in being “too tired to move,” which in turn severely impacted function. This was so extreme that, according to one participant, even “lifting a finger was exhausting.”

 “Other Symptoms”

In addition to flu-like symptoms, pain, and fatigue, participants reported experiencing a wide variety of other symptoms. One such symptom was decreased concentration. Participants noted, “I find my concentration is less than normal” and “ fogginess in my head.” Muscle tightness was another symptom reported by several participants. They stated “my legs feel like they are extremely tight” such that “nearly every major muscle is tight and locked up.” Additionally, participants reported “severe headaches/migraines,” “sensitivity to touch,” and feeling as although their “hands and feet are swollen,” which necessitated “significantly scaling back on activities during flares.” In addition to worsening of physical symptoms, patients reported an increased intensity of emotional responses and significant difficulty with mood. The “emotional and psychological repercussions are more intense,” “ make me feel depressed and not want to be around other people.”

Dealing with a Flare

The third theme included strategies used by participants to prevent or manage flares (Table 3). Participants listed a wide variety of strategies, and from these four subthemes were identified: treatments, rest, avoiding everything, and waiting it out.

Table 3

Strategies adopted by patients to deal with flares

Note: Participants gave more than one response so totals do not equal 100.

Table 3

Strategies adopted by patients to deal with flares

Note: Participants gave more than one response so totals do not equal 100.

 “Treatments”

Despite the questions’ focus on coping strategies, participants identified a number of treatments used to cope with or manage symptoms, which included pharmacological and nonpharmacological modalities. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen were the most commonly used medications. In addition to medications, participants reported using physical modalities such as massage, heat/cold, hydrotherapy, and gentle exercise. Meditation, deep breathing, prayer, and humor were also used.

 “Rest”

The majority of participants described getting more rest or staying home, particularly in bed, as the major coping strategy for a flare. This is well captured in the response of one participant, “I recognize my body isn’t able to handle/cope with things as usual, so I try to slow my pace, rest if needed, take shorter walks, and just be good to myself.” Another participant described how she limited her activities during a flare to rest, “ collapsed on the couch in my old living room and cut out extra social engagements, errands that could wait, cooking (just ate out or made simple meals like sandwiches etc.), because I had no energy for those things.” This rest often required limiting work and social engagements, including doctor’s appointments. Another participant stated, “ stay at home, sleep (if I can), rest in my big recliner. I usually just phone and cancel appointments for doctors and meetings with friends.”

 “Avoid Everything”

Beyond simple rest, avoidance of all activities and social interactions was described as a protective coping strategy to prevent untoward outcomes. As one participant stated, a severe flare was “similar to a migraine, when you don’t want to see or hear from anyone.” Another participant stated, “all I want to do is crawl in bed and sleep until it’s over.” During a flare, “social contact and other activity is limited or nonexistent.” For some participants, social interactions were emotionally and physically challenging, “ just try to avoid dealing with people as I feel grumpy and get mad more easily.”

 “Wait it out”

Flares were described as a part of the fibromyalgia experience to be waited out and tolerated as best possible. Participants described how reminding themselves that a flare will pass served as a coping strategy. Ignoring the symptoms and “pushing through it” were the associated strategies. One participant stated, “I try to remind myself that it will pass, it’s temporary, and just keep moving forward and do what needs to be done.” Other participants “cope by giving time and permission to take it slow” and acknowledging that “it will subside and there is nothing you can do about it.” Instead of avoiding everything, some participants agreed that you “just have to go with it.”

Discussion

This qualitative study is the first of its kind to describe a patient’s experience of a fibromyalgia flare. Despite the term “flare” being used frequently by health care providers and patients, little research has purposefully evaluated the presence and characteristics of fibromyalgia flares. Using content analysis, we identified themes in three content areas related to the causes, symptoms, and methods for dealing with a flare. This study provides the first step toward better defining flares so that they may be systematically studied.

Our results are consistent with the few previous papers that mention fibromyalgia flares, such as the one that describes activity and weather changes as potential causes of flares , but significantly add to the knowledge of what a flare looks and feels like for a patient with fibromyalgia. This study suggests that fibromyalgia symptoms do flare or fluctuate over time and that patients report that flares are often triggered by stress, overdoing it, and lack of sleep. As in previous studies, stress was identified as a trigger of flare-ups and the symptoms were interrelated; flare-ups of one symptom often exacerbated another (vicious cycle) .

In addition to exacerbation of common fibromyalgia symptoms, there seem to be symptoms that are unique to a flare, in particular, flu-like achiness. In one previous study of the patient experience of fibromyalgia, a woman reported feeling “feverish … almost like I have the flu.” , which is consistent with the description several study participants provided. The flu-like like achiness during a flare often makes the flare debilitating, severely impacting home and work life and social activity, which was also consistent with what participants reported in this study.

Although most of the study findings were consistent with what we observe clinically, we were somewhat surprised to find that in addition to rest and medical treatment, one of the most common methods of dealing with a flare was avoidance of physical, social, and psychological stimulation. Avoiding everything may indicate a lack of knowledge of or ability to use healthy coping strategies, and therefore, future research could evaluate the potential effects of teaching patients healthy coping strategies as one method to deal with symptom flares.

While the findings of this exploratory study shed light on the experience of a fibromyalgia flare as experienced by patients, there are inherent limitations. First, the data are collected by text response to survey questions. The use of interview or focus group might allow for deeper understanding of the experience. Second, while the sample of patients was randomly selected from a large, national fibromyalgia registry, it includes patients from only one academic medical center, and therefore, the results may not be generalizable to other patients with fibromyalgia. Third, in this study, we did not specifically conceptualize flares in terms of pain or fatigue, key symptoms of fibromyalgia, but allowed patients to report their experience regarding all symptoms that they have during a flare. Therefore, it is possible that comorbid depression or untreated sleep disorders could have contributed to a patient’s flare experience. Future research is needed to evaluate flare characteristics in a larger, more diverse sample of patients with fibromyalgia.

Conclusions

This study is the first of its kind to qualitatively explore patient perspectives regarding characteristics, causes, and management strategies of fibromyalgia flares. The presence of exacerbation or “flare” is a phenomenon readily described by these 44 patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Based on patient descriptions, a flare can be differentiated from typical or every day symptoms of fibromyalgia. The causes of flares are attributed to a wide variety of stressors. Strategies aimed at managing flare symptoms largely focus on rest and not “overdoing”. Future research assessing symptoms over time would be valuable in quantitatively characterizing the frequency of fibromyalgia flares and the changes in fibromyalgia symptoms that occur before, during, and after a flare.

Acknowledgments

Study data were collected and managed using REDCap electronic data capture tools hosted at Mayo Clinic REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) is a secure, web-based application designed to support data capture for research studies, providing 1) an intuitive interface for validated data entry; 2) audit trails for tracking data manipulation and export procedures; 3) automated export procedures for seamless data downloads to common statistical packages; and 4) procedures for importing data from external sources.

1 Wolfe F Anderson J Harkness D et al. . Health status and disease severity in fibromyalgia: Results of a six-center longitudinal study. Arthritis Rheum 1997; 40:1571–9. 2 Wolfe F Ross K Anderson J Russell IJ Hebert L . The prevalence and characteristics of fibromyalgia in the general population. Arthritis Rheum 1995;38:19–28. 3 Cunningham MM Jillings C . Individuals’ descriptions of living with fibromyalgia. Clin Nurs Res 2006;15:258–73. 4 Kengen Traska T Rutledge DN Mouttapa M Weiss J Aquino J . Strategies used for managing symptoms by women with fibromyalgia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:626–35. 5 Dennis NL Larkin M Derbyshire SW . “A giant mess”—Making sense of complexity in the accounts of people with fibromyalgia. Br J Health Psychol 2013;18:763–81. 6 Breland HL . Living with Fibromyalgia: The Salience of Clinical Subgroups. School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh; 2006:1–237. 7 Whipple M McAllister S Oh TH et al. . Construction of a US fibromyalgia registry using the Fibromyalgia Research Survey Criteria. Clin Transl Sci 2013;6: 398–99. 8 Wolfe F Clauw DJ Fitzcharles M-A et al. . Fibromyalgia criteria and severity scales for clinical and epidemiological studies: A dodification of the ACR Preliminary Diagnostic Criteria for Fibromyalgia. J Rheumatol 2011;38:1113–22. 9 Harris PA Taylor R Thielke R et al. . Research electronic data capture (REDCap)—A metadata-driven methodology and workflow process for providing translational research informatics support. J Biomed Inform 2009;42:377–81. 10 Graneheim UH Lundman B . Qualitative content analysis in nursing research: Concepts, procedures and measures to achieve trustworthiness. Nurse Educ Today 2004;24:105–12.

Author notes

Today is day seven in the life of my flu. How do I know it’s the flu? Severe dehydration landed me in the emergency room where my nose was swabbed and the diagnosis was verified. In case you’re wondering, I did not receive a flu shot. I was tempted, especially when otherwise healthy people began suddenly dying. Unfortunately, I had a negative reaction to flu vaccine in the past, so I am not a good candidate to have another. It’s worth noting that my husband did receive a flu shot, yet he now also has the flu — with the same symptoms and the same severity I have. Because I’ve lived with fibromyalgia and a weakened immune system for most of my life, I’m no stranger to viruses like this year’s flu. In fact, I’m famous for being the first one to get sick and the last one to get well. But, I must admit to being disappointed I got sick this year anyway. After all, I made a valiant attempt to avoid it. I took all the necessary steps. Only one person I knew was sick this year, and I didn’t see her for an entire month before she became ill. The message here is that this virus is out there, hiding unseen everywhere. Avoiding it may be the most difficult, most important challenge that you, as a person with a chronic illn Subscribe or log in to access all post and page content.

It seems that every possible symptom could be attributed to Fibromyalgia. This list can be a bit scary. It is important that you don’t just attribute new symptoms to Fibromyalgia. You should always let your doctor know about them.

It is VERY important that new symptoms and other illnesses you have, on top of Fibromyalgia are dealt with or managed. Something like diabetes can completely wipe you out if not managed. Similarly, the pain from injuries like muscle strains can cause a great deal of extra pain.
The main symptoms of fibromyalgia include:

  • Chronic widespread pain without apparent cause

  • Fatigue

  • Sleep Disturbance

  • Cognitive Dysfunction

  • Morning Stiffness

  • Cramping and Muscle Spasms

  • Restless Leg Syndrome

  • Digestive Problems

  • Headaches and Migraines

  • Skin Sensations

  • Balance Problems

  • Sensitivities

AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEM/ENDOCRINE/IMMUNE/HORMONE

  • Abnormal sensitivity to hot or cold Allergies (nasal, other; new, increased or worsening)

  • Canker sores (frequent)

  • Chills and/or shakes when hungry (may occur instead of feeling hungry)

  • Cold hands and feet

  • Feeling hot or cold often

  • Flu-like symptoms, on-going or recurrent after initial gradual or acute onset; includes mild fever (99.5-101.5 F / 37.5-38.6 C), chills, extreme fatigue after minimal exertion

  • Hair loss (alopecia) Herpes simplex or shingles rash Increased susceptibility to infections Low-grade fevers Low blood pressure (below 110/70)

  • Low body temperature (below 97.5)

  • Lymph nodes painful, swollen (in neck; under arms)

  • Night sweats (not related to menopause or fever)

  • Orthostatic Intolerance (neurally mediated hypotension)

  • Reactive hypoglycaemia and insulin resistance

  • Thirst, increased Temperature irregularities; often feeling hot or cold irrespective of actual ambient temperature and body temperature; low body temperature (below 97.6 F / 36.4 C)

  • Thyroid inflammation (acute thyroiditis; hypothyroidism; Hashimoto’s thyroiditis)

CARDIOPULMONARY/RESPIRATORY/CIRCULATORY

  • Cardiac abnormalities (mitral valve prolapse; myocarditis; tachycardia; palpitation dysrhythmia)

  • Cough

  • Dyspnoea (out of breath) or shortness of breath (air hunger) after minimal or no exertion

  • Heart attack

  • Heart palpitations

  • Heart pounds so hard it shakes body, bed

  • Pulse skips

  • Serious rhythm disturbances of heart

  • Sighing, frequent, not related to mental/emotional state

  • Stroke

  • Vasculitis

CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM/NEUROLOGICAL/NEUROPATHIC/OTOLOGIC

  • Abnormal CAT, MRI and/or SPECT scans

  • Alcohol intolerance

  • Aseptic meningitis

  • Brainfog”; inability to think clearly

  • Difficulty moving tongue to speak

  • Diminished or absent reflexes

  • Fainting or blackouts; feeling like you might faint

  • Headaches (frequent, severe, recurring)

  • Hearing fluctuations (sounds fade then return)

  • Hearing changes, often from day to day (need to turn up, then down, volume of radio, TV)

  • Joint or arthritic pain not relieved by NSAIDs (ie, ibuprofen)

  • Libido (decreased)

  • Light-headedness, feeling spaced-out

  • Migraine headaches

  • Muscle twitching

  • Noise intolerance

  • Paralysis or severe weakness of limb

  • Paraesthesia (numbness, tingling, crawling, itching sensations) in face, head, torso extremities

  • Photosensitivity

  • Radiculitis

  • Seizures; seizure-like episodes

  • Sensory alterations (hyper- or hyposensitivity) – smell, taste, hearing (noise intolerance)

  • Severe muscle weakness

  • Syncope (fainting)

  • Tinnitus (ringing/noises in one or both ears)

  • Touch or weight of clothing on or against body causes discomfort or pain

  • Tremors, trembling

COGNITIVE FUNCTION

  • Becoming lost in familiar locations when driving

  • Difficulty with simple calculations (e.g., balancing checkbook)

  • Difficulty expressing ideas in words

  • Difficulty moving your mouth to speak

  • Difficulty making decisions

  • Difficulty following directions while driving

  • Difficulty remembering names of objects

  • Difficulty remembering names of people

  • Difficulty recognizing face

  • Difficulty following simple written instructions

  • Difficulty following complicated written instructions

  • Difficulty following simple oral (spoken) instructions

  • Difficulty following complicated oral (spoken) instructions

  • Difficulty integrating information (putting ideas together to form a complete picture or concept)

  • Difficulty putting tasks or things in proper sequence

  • Difficulty paying attention

  • Difficulty following a conversation when background noise is present

  • Difficulty making and/or retrieving memories (long/short-term memory deficits)

  • Difficulty understanding what you read

  • Easily distracted during a task

  • Feeling too disoriented to drive

  • Forgetting how to do routine things

  • Forgetting the use of common objects (such as, what to do with the shampoo when you are standing in the shower)

  • Forgetting how to get to familiar places

  • Impaired ability to concentrate

  • Losing your train of thought in the middle of a sentence

  • Losing track in the middle of a task (remembering what to do next)

  • Poor judgment

  • Switching left and right

  • Slowed and/or slurred speech

  • Stuttering; stammering

  • Transposition (reversal) of numbers, words and/or letters when you speak and/or speak

  • Word-finding difficulty

  • Using the wrong word

DIGESTIVE/HEPATIC

  • Bloating; intestinal gas

  • Decreased appetite

  • Digestive chemicals (acid, enzymes) reduced or absent

  • Oesophageal reflux; heartburn

  • Frequent constipation

  • Frequent diarrhoea

  • Food cravings (especially carbohydrates, sweets)

  • Food/Substance intolerance

  • IBS

  • Liver function impaired; mild abnormalities

  • Increased appetite

  • Nausea

  • Spleen tender or enlarged

  • Stomach ache, cramps

  • Vomiting

  • Weight gain or loss

EQUILIBRIUM/PERCEPTION

  • Bite your cheeks or tongue frequently

  • Bump into things frequently

  • Difficulty discriminating printed matter despite proper vision correction

  • Distances (difficulty judging when driving; when putting things down on surfaces)

  • Dizziness or vertigo

  • Dropping things frequently

  • Disequilibrium (balance problems)

  • Impaired coordination

  • Loss of balance when standing with eyes closed

  • Perception (not quite seeing what you are looking at)

  • Some patterns (stripes, checks) cause dizziness

  • Spatial disorientation

  • Staggering gait (clumsy walking)

  • Words on printed page appear to jump off page or disappear when staring at them

EYES/VISION

  • Acuity changes not related to prescription changes

  • Blind spots

  • Blurred vision

  • Conjunctivitis

  • Diminished visual acuity in absence of actual vision change

  • Drooping eyelid

  • Double vision

  • Eye pain

  • Flashes of light perceived peripherally

  • Optic neuritis or atrophy

  • Oscillopsia (image jiggles)

  • Prescription changes more frequently

  • Pressure sensation behind eyes

  • Red and/or tearing eyes

  • Retinal damage

  • Slowed accommodation (switching focus from far to near, near to far)

  • Spots or floaters not related to migraines

  • Swelling around eyes

  • Uveitis and/or iritis

  • Wandering or lazy eye

HEAD/NECK/MOUTH

  • Bell’s palsy (facial paralysis, one or both sides)

  • Bruxism (grinding/clenching teeth)

  • Canker sores

  • Dizziness when you turn your head or move

  • Dry chronic cough

  • Dry eyes, nose and mouth (sicca syndrome)

  • Pain in ears, palate, gums

  • Periodontal disease

  • Prickling pain along skin of jaw

  • Problems swallowing, chewing

  • Runny nose in absence of cold, allergies

  • Sinus infections

  • Sore spot on the top of your head

  • Temperomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)

  • Unexplained toothaches

  • Xerostoma (dry mouth)

MUSCULOSKELETAL

  • Arthritic pain that migrates from joint to joint

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

  • Frozen shoulder

  • Intermittent joint swelling

  • Joint aches (arthralgia)

  • Joint pain, without redness or swelling

  • Loss of tone

  • “Lumpy, bumpy” long muscles

  • Morning stiffness

  • Muscle aches (myalgia)

  • Muscle pain, stiffness, weakness

  • Pyriform muscle syndrome

  • Reduced range of motion

  • Stiff neck

  • Writing causes pain in hand, arm shoulder

PAIN SYMPTOMS

  • Abdominal pain

  • *Chest pain*

  • Generalized pain

  • Joint Pain

  • Pain that migrates from joint to joint

  • Pain/stiffness at C1-C2 (top two vertebrae)

  • *** Shooting or stabbing pains ****
    Painful tender points (FMS: 11 out of 18 tender points)

PSYCHOLOGICAL SYMPTOMS/MOOD/EMOTIONS

  • Abrupt/Unpredictable mood swings

  • Anxiety or fear for no obvious reason

  • Appetite increase/decrease

  • Decreased self-esteem

  • Depression or depressed mood

  • Feeling helpless and/or hopeless

  • Feeling worthless

  • Frequent crying for no reason

  • Helpless/Hopeless feelings

  • Inability to enjoy previously enjoyed activities

  • Irritability; over-reaction

  • New phobias/irrational fears

  • Panic attacks

  • Personality changes (labile, irritable, anxious, confused, forgetful)

  • Phobias (irrational fears)

  • Rage attacks; anger outbursts for little or no reason

  • Suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts

SENSITIVITIES

  • Acute or abnormal reactions to medications

  • Alteration in taste, smell, and/or hearing

  • Chemicals (alcohol, medications; lower tolerance for)

  • Food sensitivities

  • Increased perception of and sensitivity to noise

  • Light sensitivity

  • Sensitivity to odours (able to detect and/or react in concentrations far lower than before and that healthy people cannot smell)

  • Noise sensitivities

SKIN/NAILS

  • Abnormal scarring

  • Acrodermatitis Chronica Atrophician

  • Blotchy or mottled skin

  • Bruise easily

  • Bruises may take longer to appear, and/or longer to fade

  • Bull’s-eye (Erythema migraines) on light skin (resembles a bruise on dark skin)

  • Dermographia (minor scratch pressure on skin leaves vivid red welts)

  • Dry, itchy skin

  • Easily scar

  • Eczema or psoriasis

  • Fragile nails

  • Frequent skin irritations

  • Lymphadenosis benigna cutis

  • Nails that curve under or downward

  • Overgrowing connective tissue (ingrown hair, adhesions, thickened/split cuticles, cysts, fibroids)

  • Painful skin (abnormal/excessive pain when scratched or rubbed)

  • “Paper” skin (feels fragile, tissue-thin when rubbed)

  • Rashes on body, face

  • Vertical ridges or beads in nails

SLEEP SYMPTOMS

  • Abnormal brain activity in stage 4 sleep

  • Altered sleep/wake patterns (alert/energetic late at night, sleepy during day

  • Difficulty falling asleep

  • Difficulty staying asleep (frequent and/or prolonged awakenings)

  • Hypersomnia (excessive sleeping)

  • Myclonus (restless leg syndrome; occasional jerking of entire body)

  • Nightmares (frequent, extremely vivid and/or disturbing)

  • Unrefreshing/Non-restorative sleep

UROGENITAL/REPRODUCTIVE

  • Decreased libido

  • Discharge from breast or galactorrhea

  • Endometriosis

  • Frequent urination

  • Incontinence

  • Impotence

  • Infant: premature; low birth weight; low muscle tone; failure to thrive

  • Interstitial cystitis

  • Miscarriage or stillbirth

  • Painful intercourse

  • Painful urination or bladder

  • Pelvic and/or rectal pain

  • Prostate pain

  • Swollen testicles

  • Other symptoms worsen before start of menstruation

  • Worsening of PMS

OTHER

  • Abnormal or other changes in sweating

  • Activity level reduced to less than 50% of pre-onset level

  • Burning sensation (internal or external)

  • Changed voice

  • Changes in sweat odour/body odour

  • Delayed reaction to overactivity/exertion (onset 24-48 hours after exertion)

  • Electromagnetic (EM) sensitivity (electrical storms, full moon, affect function of electrical devices)

  • Fatigue, prolonged, disabling, made worse by exertion or stress

  • Fibrocystic breasts

  • “Galloping” cholesterol and triglycerides

  • Hair loss (not related to age, hormones, diet, medication)

  • Hands hurt excessively when put in cold water

  • Handwriting changes, altering signature and/or other writing

  • Hoarseness

  • Painful, weak grasp that gives way/lets go

  • Periods of concentrated thinking causes physical and mental exhaustion, increases pain

  • Sore throat

  • Swelling/Idiopathic oedema (fluid retention syndrome)

  • Symptoms worsened by extremes of temperature (hot, cold), stress, and/or air travel

  • Symptoms change focus from time to time, like infection is moving through the body

  • Thickened mucus secretions (nose, bowel, vaginal)

  • Thickened “sleep” around eyes in mornings

  • Very attractive to biting flies and mosquitoes

  • Weight changes (usually gain)

This is a huge list of symptoms that can be attributed to Fibromyalgia. It is very important that other possible causes are ruled out. The number of and severity of the rest of the symptoms, seems to be different for every person. They can also vary from day to day, even minute to minute. You could be walking along limping from a severe pain in your left leg for a few minutes, that slowly wears off, only to have a worse pain in your other leg next time you start walking.

Any new symptoms should not automatically be put down to Fibromyalgia but should be checked by your GP to rule out any other underlying conditions.

Flu Symptoms or Fibromyalgia Flare-up?

Cases reprinted with permission from Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements and Experts, Lewis Laska, Editor, (800) 298-6288.

A Kansas woman, age 41, presented to an ED on Christmas Day with cough, congestion, difficulty breathing, and a two-week history of flu-like symptoms (chest tightness and body aches); this, she had attributed to previously diagnosed fibromyalgia.

In the ED, the patient was seen by the defendant physician assistant, who made a diagnosis of sinusitis with a flare-up of her fibromyalgia. Medication was prescribed, and she was discharged after about two hours.

On the way home, the woman experienced cardiac arrest. She was returned to the hospital and pronounced dead less than two hours after discharge.

The plaintiff alleged negligence in the PA’s failure to order an ECG. The defendant denied that an ECG was indicated and claimed that the treatment provided was reasonable.

Outcome
Plaintiff settled with the hospital for an undisclosed amount prior to trial. A defense verdict was returned.

Comment
In this case, we don’t know the reproducibility or magnitude of the patient’s chest pain. Her history of fibromyalgia and flu-like symptoms may have blurred the presentation, which included “chest tightness”—especially considering that fibromyalgia can cause tender points over the anterior chest wall. Further, because 6% to 15% of patients with acute MI will exhibit some degree of reproducible chest tenderness, tenderness on exam can be misleading. Additionally, women with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) commonly present with subtle and nonspecific findings, including dyspnea, fatigue, and weakness. Frank chest pain is often absent.

During litigation, a plaintiff’s attorney will commonly argue that a “five-minute” test (such as an ECG) would have saved a patient. Here, the attorney likely offered expert testimony that ACS presentation can be subtle and atypical and that reasonably prudent clinicians should know this. Jurors familiar with ECGs as quick and noninvasive could reach the conclusion that a complaint of chest tightness in a 41-year-old woman requires that ACS be considered, regardless of her own opinion of the cause. It is important to have an index of suspicion for ACS, even without classic symptoms. It is also important to voice respect for the patient’s self-diagnosis, yet resist our temptation to hastily agree with any patient’s diagnostic assessment. —DML

Symptoms

What Fibromyalgia Feels Like

Fibromyalgia means widespread pain in the muscles, but this syndrome causes many other symptoms.1 Lab tests seldom validate your condition and the results often make you feel like a hypochondriac. Pressing on tender points can diagnose fibromyalgia, but the exam still does not explain all of your symptoms.2

People with fibromyalgia often describe their symptoms as a flu-like infection that doesn’t go away. It leaves you exhausted and unable to think or find the right words (symptoms of fibro fog).3 With fibromyalgia, you have trouble sleeping and wake up stiff and achy.4 Your symptoms can be debilitating and you probably feel as though you have to push yourself to get anything done.5,6

Top Ten Fibromyalgia Symptoms

  • Pain all over
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Brain fog
  • Morning stiffness
  • Muscle knots, cramping, weakness
  • Digestive disorders
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Balance problems
  • Itchy/burning skin

Learn more about the most common fibromyalgia symptoms.

What Makes Fibromyalgia Symptoms Worse?

Certain aggravating factors can make your symptoms come and go, or change without reason. Other conditions may also make you feel worse. Learn what these factors are so that you can work with your doctor on more effective treatment strategies.

Read about aggravating factors that make fibromyalgia symptoms worse.

Fibromyalgia Quick Facts

  • Affects 3 to 5 percent of the general population7
  • Occurs in people of all ages, even children
  • Men develop fibromyalgia too, although more women are diagnosed with it
  • Symptoms are chronic but may fluctuate throughout the day
  • Roughly one-quarter of people with fibromyalgia are work-disabled4
  • Three drugs are FDA-approved for fibromyalgia treatment

More Basic Info is available at the following:

” Diagnosis | ” Treatment | ” Related Conditions | ” Research

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