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What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a subset of Arthritis that is characterized by long-term, wide-spread pain. It can interfere with pain processing and can disturb sleep, resulting in fatigue and mental distress.

Why Should You Care?

  • 2% of the U.S. population has Fibromyalgia
    • That's approximately 5 million people!
    • Predominantly found in females
      • female: male ratio of occurrence is 7:1
  • Most patients are diagnosed in middle age
  • Working age women who are hospitalized are 10x less likely to return to work
    • They are 4x less likely to return within 1 year
    • On average, patients lost 17 days of work, compared to 6 for people without fibromyalgia
    • Fibromyalgia negatively impacts health-related life quality 
      • Increases loss of work productivity                                                                           


  • There are no known causes for Fibromyalgia.

Risk Factors

While it's not exactly known what increases risk, there are a few possible risk factors.

  • Physical Trauma
  • Abnormal Pain-Response Areas in Brain
  • Infection
  • Emotional Trauma
  • Sleep Disturbance


  - Generalized deep aches - Shooting, burning pain
  - Joints aren't affected, even if it feels like it - Irritable bowel syndrome
  - Memory/concentration problems - Numbness in hands and feet
  - Reduced exercise ability - Tension/migraine headaches
  - Increased menstrual cramping - Fibro fog
  - Painful, tender areas in:  
     - Back of neck - Shoulders
     - Chest - Lower back
     - Hips - Elbows
     - Shins - Knees


While there are no known cures, there are a few strategies to manage Fibromyalgia.

  - Physical therapy - Exercise
  - Stress-relief - Anti-seizure drugs
  - Antidepressants - Muscle relaxant
  - Pain relievers - Sleeping aids
  - Cognitive - behavioral therapy - Support groups

* CIS does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The content is for informational purposes only. 

Support Groups

For more information on support groups and materials, we recommend visiting the National Fibromyalgia Association.

Sources: Center for Disease Control, National Fibromyalgia Association

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