Fibromyalgia-What is it?

What it is

Fibromyalgia is a common condition that causes widespread pain on the body causing sleep problems, fatigue, and emotional/mental distress. 4 million US adults are affected by fibromyalgia, which is about 2% of the adult population. While it is more common in women, this condition can occur in men. Fibromyalgia most often starts in middle adulthood, but it can occur in both teen years and old age.

How is it caused

The cause is very unclear, though current research does suggest the nervous system has some involvement. However, fibromyalgia is not caused from an autoimmune, inflammation, joint, or muscle disorder. Fibromyalgia also runs in families and certain genes can make people more prone to this condition. But genes do not cause fibromyalgia alone, some triggering factors play a role. These could be spine problems, injuries, arthritis, and other physical stresses.

Signs and Symptoms

The more common symptoms are:

  • Widespread pain and stiffness
  • Fatigue and Tiredness
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Sleep Problems
  • Problems with thinking, memory, and concentration
  • Headaches/Migraines

Other symptoms may be:

  • Numbness/Tingling in the hands and feet
  • Pain in the face/jaw. This also includes disorders of the jaw known as TMJ
  • Digestive problems including abdominal pain, constipation, bloating, and IBS

Risk Factors

There are only a few well known factors. These are age and lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

However, other factors have been associated with fibromyalgia. These include:

  • Sex. Women are twice as likely to develop fibromyalgia as men are.
  • Stressful/Traumatic Events. This includes car accidents, PTSD, physical/mental abuse and more.
  • Repetitive Injuries. This can come from repetitive stress on a joint, injuring it.
  • Viral Infections or other Illnesses
  • Family History
  • Obesity


Non-Drug Option

This option includes physical exercise, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), acupuncture, chiropractors, massage therapy, physical therapy, and perhaps a psychiatrist. People with fibromyalgia have been seen to benefit the most from regular aerobic exercises. Other therapies that have been seen to work are Tai Chi and Yoga. These help ease the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. CBT may help a person with fibromyalgia learn symptom reduction skills that help lessen the pain. All other therapies listed, help ease/manage symptoms.

Medication Option

The FDA approved three drugs to help treat fibromyalgia. Two of these drugs change the serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. This helps control pain levels. The other drug works by blocking the over activity of nerve cells involved in pain transmission. These three medicines can cause dizziness, sleepiness, swelling, and weight gain.

It is recommended to avoid opioid narcotic medications for treatment as they have been seen to not help and cause greater pain sensitivity or more persistent pain.

If you are in the Central Florida area and are wanting to seek therapy for fibromyalgia contact us at Hohman Rehab! We have offices in Ocoee and Clermont along with group fitness classes such as Tai Chi and Yoga. If you have any more questions about fibromyalgia or think you could possibly develop it, please contact your doctor.