Dr. Stanley Mathew in Doctors, Healthcare, Medical Researchers Physiatrist, Medical Director • St. Lukes Physical Medicine Rehabilitation Jan 29, 2020 · 1 min read · +400

Understanding Fibromyalgia

Understanding Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a serious condition that has made headlines lately with more celebrities coming out as having the condition to raise awareness. Often called an invisible illness, fibromyalgia is anything but invisible to those who suffer from the constant pain the condition causes.

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic medical condition that causes pain throughout the body. An estimated five million people in the United States live with the condition. The Center for Disease Control believes that the pain occurs when the brain processes pain messages from nerves incorrectly.

The central nervous system is responsible for sending pain messages to the brain. Experts believe that hormonal or chemical imbalances in the brain may cause it to interpret these messages incorrectly, causing pain.

Fibromyalgia Symptoms

The most common symptom of fibromyalgia is pain that is felt all through the body. Other symptoms include:

  • Extreme fatigue

  • Difficulty with sleeping

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Joint pain

  • Numbness

  • Tingling

Tender Points

One of the unique symptoms of fibromyalgia is pain felt on certain points of the body when pressed. Those without fibromyalgia feel only pressure when these 18 points are touched; people with the condition feel severe pain.


One of the most frustrating things about the condition is that there are no definitive labs, tests or x-rays that confirm the diagnosis. Women between the ages of 25 and 60 are most likely to develop the condition.

Living with Fibromyalgia

It can be difficult to live with fibromyalgia. Fatigue and pain can make everyday tasks difficult. Many people with the condition find working, taking care of family and going to school more difficult than those without the condition.

Treatment Options

Many primary care doctors refer patients with suspected fibromyalgia to a specialist called a rheumatologist for treatment. Medications, physical therapy and avoiding triggers can all be useful in treating the condition.

Avoiding Triggers

Though every person with fibromyalgia experiences the condition slightly differently, avoiding triggers can help prevent flare-ups from occurring. These triggers may include:

  • Stress

  • Infrequent physical activity

  • Too much physical activity

  • Cold or humid weather

  • Poor sleep

For more information on fibromyalgia and other chronic conditions, visit our blog at stanmathewmd.com

Duane Boise Jan 30, 2020 · #2

Thank you for sharing!

Cyndi wilkins Jan 29, 2020 · #1

Thank you @Dr. Stanley Mathew for this important information. People who experience this painful condition, myself included, feel terribly misunderstood...even by the physicians who treat them.

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