Fibromyalgia

Get Email Updates

Related Checklists

Fibromyalgia Guide

Susan Cody HERWriter Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.

ASK

Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!

Fibromyalgia related image Photo: Getty Images

In the United States, about 5 million people have fibromyalgia, with 80 to 90 percent of patients being women, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health.

Patients with fibromyalgia have pains that occur all over their body — above and below the waist and on both sides of the body. The MayoClinic.com noted that the pain that fibromyalgia patients experience is described often as “a constant dull ache, typically arising from the muscles.”

In addition to the widespread pain, patients with fibromyalgia have additional pain at certain parts of the body when pressure is applied. These areas are called “tender points.”

There are 18 tender points, or nine pairs of tender points. These include:

• Inside of the knee
• Back of the neck behind the patient’s ear
• The midway point between the tip of the shoulder and the base of the neck
• Behind the bony part of the hip
• Above and toward the outside of the buttocks
• The area in which the back muscles meet the shoulder blade
• Above the collarbone
• Below and to the outside of the elbow crease
• Either right or left of the sternum

Finding the right treatment to manage the pain of fibromyalgia can be difficult and patients may need to try different treatments until they find the one that works best for them. Medications are one option. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health noted that several medications are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for fibromyalgia, including milnacipran, pregabalin and duloxetine.

The MayoClinic.com recommended that patients with fibromyalgia pain come up with a list of coping strategies when their pain becomes severe. Options include avoiding negative talk (instead of saying “I cannot do anything because of this pain,” say instead “I can do many things, but I just need to take breaks throughout the day"), telling other people about the symptoms, asking for help when it is needed, and using relaxation techniques.

Another option is cognitive behavioral therapy, a type of psychotherapy.

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Add a Comment3 Comments

EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

75% of people with fibromyalgia remain undiagnosed- the government and medicine dont care about people with fibromyalgia- they do very little research on fibromyalgia, doctors refuse to obtain education on painful conditions like fibromyalgia-and government wont do the right thing for people with fibromyalgia by requiring education on fibromyalgia or more research- fibromyalgia- like other painful conditions is a political issue that shows both medicine and governemtn are woefully out of touch with people suffering pain

November 19, 2011 - 11:06am
caty (reply to Anonymous)

i would bet if the number of men equalled the number of women with this disease we would have a cure by now. anonymous

March 15, 2012 - 5:45pm
bbnrse

This is a wonderful article! Offering concise and complete information and I think that the idea of one-on-one CBT is wonderful. It would help reduce symptoms, especially on the bad days. I wish there were a network of people in this area that could support each other this way. It would also be great if there were some professionals in the group. Very good. Thank you.

November 17, 2011 - 7:31pm
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

Improved

1547 Health

Changed

572 Lives

Saved

427 Lives
0 lives impacted in the last 24 hrs Learn More

Take Our Featured Health Poll

Does the thought of doing your taxes stress you out?:
View Results