Fibromyalgia Syndrome – also called FMS – is a condition marked by several symptoms, such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Chronic muscle pain and stiffness
  • Sleep problems
  • Headaches and facial pain
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Numbness of the hands and feet
  • Headaches and facial pain
  • Problems with concentration and memory
  • Mood changes, depression and anxiety

It affects as many as one in 50 Americans and is most common in middle-aged women.

What you can do to help prevent or treat fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia cannot be prevented, and it can be difficult to treat. To help minimize the effects of fibromyalgia, you might want to:

  • Get enough sleep. Treating sleep disturbances caused by fibromyalgia can help ease your pain and fatigue.
  • Exercise. Although pain and fatigue may make exercise and daily activities difficult, it's important to be as physically active as possible.
  • Make changes at work. Adjust your workspace, cut down your hours and explore your disability benefits.
  • Eat well. Not only will proper nutrition give you more energy and make you feel better, it will help you avoid other health problems.
  • Reduce stress. Be careful not to overexert yourself. Set reasonable goals and set aside time to relax every day.

Working with your doctor to find the most effective therapies, such as medications and physical therapy, is also a major part of managing the illness.

How to talk to your doctor

Fibromyalgia can be difficult for doctors to diagnose. If you experience chronic pain and fatigue lasting several months, it's time to see your doctor. It's a good idea to keep a diary of your symptoms to help your doctor make a diagnosis.

Call the nurse line

Feelings of depression often accompany the pain and frustration of fibromyalgia. Get help finding a doctor or therapist to help you cope.

  • Most benefit plans include access to a nurse line program. Talk with a nurse or your doctor if you need additional help.