Alternative Medicine Approach to Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome characterized by pain, achiness, tenderness, and stiffness of the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. It frequently affects the neck, shoulders, chest, legs, and lower back, although other areas of the body may be affected as well. The syndrome may be localized (primarily in men), typically with a rapid onset, or generalized (mainly in women), with a gradual diffuse onset and exquisite tenderness at specific points in the musculature. Diagnosis of fibromyalgia is made after ruling out other disorders with similar symptoms.

Fibromyalgia is most common in women. No single cause has been identified, although many factors have been implicated: stress, anxiety, depression, poor sleep, environmental changes, trauma or strain, and viral infections. In patients already diagnosed with fibromyalgia, these factors can aggravate the condition, which may become chronic or manifest in cycles of remission and flare.

Treatment includes exercise, stretching, massage, and stress reduction.The use of medications to help regulate the sleep cycle or treat anxiety and depression may be indicated. Other medications may be used for pain relief. If fibromyalgia is a result of other disorders, these must be treated as well.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 01 Jan 2001

Last Modified: 15 Sep 2015