U.S. adults are living with fibromyalgia, that’s 2% of the U.S. adult population.


of people living with fibromyalgia are women- it also occurs in men and children of all ethnic groups.


Most people are diagnosed with fibromyalgia around the ages of 20-50.

What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that is characterized by widespread pain in the muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, and nerves of your body.

Researchers believe that your brain plays an important role in this experience of widespread pain. [1] When you have fibromyalgia, you may have an abnormal increase in certain chemicals in your brain called neurotransmitters. The presence of more of these chemicals in your brain can change how your brain functions, and make it more sensitive to pain signals from other parts of your body.

Who is affected?

Anyone can be diagnosed with fibromyalgia. But women are twice as likely to have the condition as men. [2] The condition generally starts in middle age or older. [2] Among those who have fibromyalgia, black women and people with lower socio-economic status tend to experience more widespread pain. [3] [4]

Doctors aren’t sure about what causes fibromyalgia, but it tends to run in families, so it may be passed down genetically. Other factors which are thought to trigger or aggravate fibromyalgia are infections, physical trauma (such as deep cuts or broken bones), and emotional trauma (involving psychological stress). [1]

What happens in your body?

Common symptoms of fibromyalgia include:

  • Dull, widespread pain (occurs on both sides of your body, and above and below your waist) that has lasted for at least three months [1]
  • Tender points (small, sensitive spots around the body, which are painful when pressure is applied)
  • Stiffness that is usually worse in the morning
  • Fatigue, disrupted sleep, and waking up tired
  • Difficulty focusing or concentrating on mental tasks

How do I know if I have fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia symptoms are similar to the symptoms of other conditions, such as hypothyroidism, so it can take some time to diagnose it. But it is important to get an accurate diagnosis as quickly as possible to make sure that the condition does not worsen. The best way to do this is by visiting your doctor and, if possible, getting a referral to visit a rheumatologist, a doctor who specializes in treating fibromyalgia.

Some ways that your doctor can assess whether you have the condition is through reviewing your medical history and possibly conducting blood tests.