Author’s Bio: Ria Ellendula is an incoming college freshman who is passionate about public health and healthcare policy. 

What causes Fibromyalgia?

People with Fibromyalgia have more cells that carry pain signals than normal. They may also have fewer cells to obstruct pain signals. Although doctors have not pinpointed a specific cause for the disorder, they have identified various risk factors and triggers associated with Fibromyalgia. 

Triggers can include: 

  • Genes
  • Other diseases (such as arthritis)
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Gender (Fibromyalgia is more prevalent in women than in men)
  • Anxiety and depression 
  • Emotional or physical abuse (this distorts the way in which your brain processes pain and stress) 

Answering common misconceptions.

Is it an autoimmune disease?

Fibromyalgia is not an autoimmune disease. It does not involve any type of inflammation or damage to your joints. Rather, it is a neurological disease driven by the central nervous system. This is because Fibromyalgia deals distinctly with the interactions between the brain and the spinal cord. It amplifies your reaction to sensory details (such as light and noise), and it increases your brain activity so that there is a higher response to pain, heat, and pressure. 

Is it hereditary?

Genetics can be one source of Fibromyalgia. It is a disorder that can run within families, and if your parents or blood relatives have it, then your risk of developing it increases. If you have a genetic disposition to fibromyalgia, you are also more likely to develop disorders such as depression. 

Fibromyalgia is a chronic (long-term) condition, and symptoms of fibromyalgia vary based on the person. Common symptoms include: 
  • Bone and muscle pain (musculoskeletal regions) 
  • Tenderness 
  • General fatigue 
  • Sleep problems 
  • Disturbances to cognition
  • Memory difficulties
  • Foggy thinking

Fibromyalgia is characterized by “regions of pain,” or trigger points. These regions will usually have a constant and localized dull ache. If you have experienced pain in at least 4 of the 5 designated regions of pain, your healthcare provider is likely to consider Fibromyalgia as a diagnosis. 

The trigger points for Fibromyalgia pain include the upper left, upper right, lower left, lower right, and lower back area of the musculoskeletal system.

Fibromyalgia Treatments

How do I test for it?
Even though Fibromyalgia is not extremely rare, diagnosis is very challenging. The condition often gets misdiagnosed as the symptoms are common. Because of this, diagnosis is a long process of ruling out other conditions and examining the specific medical condition the patient has.  Before considering a diagnosis, healthcare providers must eliminate other conditions that resemble fibromyalgia. They can eliminate and narrow down such conditions through blood tests. The similar conditions include:
  • Hypothyroidism 
  • Polymyalgia rheumatica
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Lupus

Blood tests that are performed to eliminate the possibility of the aforementioned conditions are:
  • Complete blood count 
  • Thyroid hormone tests
  • Antinuclear antibody test
  • C-Reactive protein test
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate test

If you test negative for all of these blood tests, your healthcare provider will look into the potential of a Fibromyalgia diagnosis. 

Recent studies have come up with a promising diagnostic blood test specifically for fibromyalgia. This test is called an FM/a test. It collects plasma and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) in a small sample of your blood. From this sample, it tests the concentration of cytokines within your blood sample. A lower level of cytokines is an indicator for Fibromyalgia patients. 
In order to combat the pain, fatigue, and insomnia that accompanies fibromyalgia, you can take painkillers, antidepressants, and anti-seizure drugs (after consulting a doctor). However, for those seeking alternative, non-medicinal approaches, there are numerous other remedies to consider. It is important to consult a doctor or healthcare provider before trying these remedies.
  • Yoga: Several studies have evidenced that yoga can alleviate fibromyalgia-related pain. A study published in the Journal of Pain Research found that women with fibromyalgia who took a biweekly yoga class reported a significant reduction in pain, along with lower stress levels. 
  • Meditation: One symptom of fibromyalgia is impaired cognitive function. One great benefit of meditation is its ability to counteract that and change your brain function. Meditation is proven to not only ease pain but also calm your mind, encourage relaxation, and accelerate healing. 
  • 5-HTP: 5-HTP, also known as 5-hydroxytryptophan, is an amino acid that assists the body in serotonin production. Serotonin is the hormone responsible for stabilizing our mood and maintaining many other body functions. Serotonin is also related to depression and sleep. 5-HTP has the potential to reduce pain and normalize sleeping patterns. 
  • If you are seeking another over-the-counter supplement to assist in regulating your sleep schedule, you can also try melatonin. Preliminary research has demonstrated that melatonin may be useful in treating fibromyalgia pain and inducing drowsiness. 
  • SAMe: SAMe is a natural molecule in our body that can be taken as a dietary supplement to reduce fibromyalgia symptoms. It is shown to relieve morning stiffness, pain, and fatigue, but it also may cause dizziness and stomach aches. 
  • Manual Lymph Drainage Therapy (MLDT): This is a specific type of massage aimed at removing excess lymph fluid from your body. This fluid carries waste and toxins, and the lymph system is targeted at ridding your body of these toxins. According to a research study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapies, MLDT and regular massage correlate to reduced pain and increase life quality. 

Although Fibromyalgia cannot be prevented, its effects can be diluted through proper care and lifestyles choices. People with fibromyalgia can prevent flare-ups through a number of different methods, such as:

  • Getting sufficient sleep
  • Reducing mental and emotional stress
  • Regularly exercising
  • Eating a balanced diet (avoid caffeine, fried foods, sodium-rich foods)
  • Monitoring symptoms 

Listed below are approved medicinal treatments for Fibromyalgia. It is important that you are consulting your doctor before trying any new medications so that you’re aware of any side-effects and can identify what works best for your body. 

  • Antidepressants 
    • SNRIs like duloxetine and milnacipran
    • SSRIs like Citalopram, Fluoxetine, Paroxetine, etc. 
    • Tricyclics like Amitriptyline 
  • Anti-Seizure Medicines 
    • Pregabalin (recently FDA-approved for fibromyalgia treatment) 
    • Gabapentin
  • Pain Relievers 
    • Over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and NSAIDs
  • Muscle Relaxants like cyclobenzaprine and tizanidine 


Online Doctor Consultation For Fibromyalgia

If you or someone in your family have concerns about Fibromyalgia, please contact and seek help from our doctors online. At Home Urgent Care provides telehealth services so you can safely and confidently keep your health in check with our primary and urgent care services and get treatment online.  Book an online doctor appointment today with our health care experts available at your convenience 365 days a year and get your prescription/medication available online.  

Book an Appointment

Online Doctor Appointment - At Home Urgent Care

Step 1

Call or Book your online Doctor Visit

Online Doctor Appointment - At Home Urgent Care

Step 2

Talk to a doctor over the Phone/ Tablet

Online Doctor Appointment - At Home Urgent Care

Step 3

If needed pick up your medication at the pharmacy