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

  • Fatigue
  • Chronic muscle pain and stiffness
  • Sleep problems
  • Morning stiffness
  • Headaches and facial pain
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Numbness or tingling of the hands and feet
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Temperature sensitivity
  • Sensitivity to loud noises or bright lights
  • Problems with concentration and memory

It affects about 5 million 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 to make reaching or sitting more comfortable. Talk with your supervisor about your workplace needs. 
  • 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.

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