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What is Fibromyalgia?

Symptoms and Causes

By Lisa BriskeyPublished 3 months ago 6 min read

I am writing this article because I think this is an article that would be beneficial to people who either have Fibromyalgia or know someone who has it. In my case, my mom and sister have it and I have watched them deal with this condition for many years. I hope this article has been some help.

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic long-term condition. This condition is sometimes misdiagnosed because there are no tests to confirm the diagnosis. Its symptoms can mimic the symptoms of other conditions which makes it hard to understand even for the doctors. Fibromyalgia causes:

-tenderness in areas


-pain in bones and in the muscles

-disturbances in cognitive and sleep

In the past, doctors didn’t believe that Fibromyalgia was real. But in today’s society, doctors know that it is real.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia:

dry eyes

bladder problems


trouble sleeping




trouble focusing or paying attention

pain or a dull ache in the lower belly

sleeping for long periods without feeling rested

it can also affect your emotions and energy level

fog (fuzzy feeling that one can experience)

memory lapse

trouble staying alert

having trouble concentrating

Symptoms in Women:

Women get Fibromyalgia worse than men. Women experience more IBS symptoms, morning fatigue, and widespread pain than men. They can also have painful periods. Even transitioning to menopause could make this condition worse for women. With more men being diagnosed with these, the severity of pain between men and women may change which will mean more research needs to be done.

Fibromyalgia in Men:

Did you know that men get Fibromyalgia? I didn’t know this but it makes sense since this condition has always been seen as a woman’s disease. As of 2016, more men are being diagnosed. Men can also suffer emotional symptoms as well as pain. Men are told to suck up the pain which is a reason that it makes it hard to diagnose.

Trigger Points:

In the past, doctors would diagnose you with Fibromyalgia if you had 11 out of 18 trigger points but with new diagnostic criteria, doctors now diagnose you if have 4 out of 5 areas of pain.

Common Triggers:

outer elbows



upper chest

back of head

tops of the shoulder


Genetics: Since Fibromyalgia runs in families there might be a genetic mutation that makes one vulnerable to getting it.

Infection: Some infections either might trigger or are easily more affected by Fibromyalgia.

Physical or emotional events: Fibromyalgia may be caused by stress or traumatic events like if one was in an accident or the death of a loved one.

Risk Factors:

More women get Fibromyalgia than men. You are at risk if a parent has it because it runs in families.

You can also get it if you have disorders like osteoarthritis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.


Doctors will be doing tests to make sure it’s not another disorder besides Fibromyalgia. Doctors may do the following blood tests:

complete blood count

erythrocyte sedimentation rate

cyclic citrullinated peptide test

Rheumatoid factor

thyroid function tests

anti-nuclear antibody

celiac serology

vitamin D


To treat fibromyalgia, your doctor may use medication and self-care. There is not just one medication that can treat all symptoms. Some medications that the doctor may give you to reduce the pain are pain relievers (like ibuprofen, Tylenol, or Alieve), antidepressants, and anti-seizure drugs.

Your doctor also may recommend physical therapy to help strengthen your body with exercises, occupational therapy that may help with the performance of certain tasks, and counseling.


Since medications may not always work, taking care of yourself is important. It is important to control your stress levels, you need to avoid stress and need to have a plan to do that. You need to make sure that you are getting enough sleep because fatigue is a huge factor in Fibromyalgia. Going to bed at the same time and getting up in the morning at the same time is crucial. You should exercise regularly like walking, swimming, biking, or water aerobics. Yoga, massage therapy, tai chi, acupuncture, and a chiropractor may help with it, also. Another thing is to pace yourself when doing tasks. Don’t overtask yourself on a good day or you will have more bad days.

Eating healthy is also important. You should eat foods that are rich in Vitamin D (swordfish, tuna, sockeye salmon, eggs, milk, orange juice, sun exposure, etc), magnesium ( kale, spinach, swiss chard, beans, lentils, almonds, avocados, bananas, etc but 3 servings a day), Omega-3 Fatty Acid (salmon, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia, etc), and foods rich in antioxidants (berries, sweet peppers, carrots, beets, spinach, kale, etc).

Foods to Avoid:

Artificial sweeteners



refined carbohydrates

unhealthy fats



I asked my sister about her life with Fibromyalgia and this is what she had to say.

I don’t remember the year I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia. It’s been at least 5 years or longer. I started with chronic back pain in my lower back well over 10 years ago. About 5 years or so ago I started noticing that my feet and ankles up through my shins were always achy and hurting. I was told that I had bone spurs in my shins by many doctors but I was finally told that I had fibromyalgia in my ankles and feet by a doctor who listened to me. A year or so after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia in my ankles I was told that I had it through my whole body, such as my back, neck, legs, etc.

How has fibromyalgia affected my life and what is my daily life like with fibromyalgia? I have dealt with pain for years now … Nowadays the pain is every day all day! It ranges from dull, achiness to pain so bad that it hurts to move or knocks the breath out of me just walking a few feet. It gets so bad that I can not take a shower most days because I hurt so bad the fatigue … Over the last year has been the hardest so far struggling to get out of bed to take care of myself. Most days I’m in bed with no energy because of the pain and fatigue, and then the depression and anxiety kick in. Every day is a mental and emotional fight for me, especially on my bad days. On my good day, I can take a shower but it takes a toll on me. On my good days, I get what I can do, especially laundry and cooking. But the next day I usually wind up in bed because I overdid myself the day before. It’s a nasty, vicious cycle. I used to be an active person … So going from being active to barely living has been tough on me. Fibromyalgia has also made me feel like I have failed to be a mother and wife because now most days I barely function for myself and before I was always on top of everything. My memory has been shot as well and I feel like I am in a fog most days. But I still keep fighting thru it all hopefully someday I can get back to a somewhat normal life.

What are my symptoms and what do I take for medication?! My symptoms are pain, fatigue, depression, and anxiety, I forget things, such as conversations or get confused. I also deal with weakness and lack of motivation, physically. I am on gabapentin for nerve pain. I take Effexor for my depression. I am on Adderall as a stimulant to help with energy and I’m going to start taking vitamins to help with everything in between.



mental healthhealthbody

About the Creator

Lisa Briskey

I love to write, crochet, and sew. I am a grandmother of a two-year-old granddaughter.

Follow me on Medium: https://medium.com/@lisabriskey5

And support me on my Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/lisaj or https://ko-fi.com/lisabriskey

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