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What if I have FMS?

Fibromyalgia is also referred to as "fibromyalgia syndrome" or "FMS." You may have seen advertisements for prescription medications for fibromyalgia. Many patients notice improvement with this treatment. Some find little or no relief, and some cannot tolerate the side effects.

Rheumatologists are trained in diagnosing and treating fibromyalgia. A person with fibromyalgia may also have overlapping conditions, such as ME/CFS, depression or anxiety disorders. In those cases, the patient may need to see other specialists for those conditions. Because insomnia and lack of stage 3 & 4 sleep are often part of the disease, a sleep doctor is often helpful.

Support from others:

As with any chronic disabling disease, fibromyalgia syndrome will have an effect on your relationships and impact your loved ones. You will need the understanding and emotional and practical support of loved ones. You could share this letter with them to help them understand. You can direct them to this website or to other national or state organizations.


As with many neuro-endocrine-immune diseases, fibromyalgia is often chronic and lifelong, although treatments reduce symptoms for many. At this time, there is no cure and a person may have flares even while on treatments. Fibromyalgia is often disabling.

Read Brad Ellis' Story.

Treatment options:

Dr. Charles Lapp of Hunter Hopkins Center gives a step-wise approach to treatments. Our physicians' Fibro Care brochure has latest information on treatments for fibromyalgia.

- Recently, research has shown some medicines will lessen the pain in fibromyalgia by
reducing the overactive chemical nerve / pain response. Other medications often prescribed to fibromyalgia patients include pain medicine, anti-anxiety medicine, anti-insomnia medications and muscle relaxers. A sleep doctor can help the patient find the right sleep treatment.

Diet and SupplementsTreatment may include dietary changes. Discuss this with your physician.


Other therapies - Lifestyle changes, including relaxation therapy or mild exercise, may also help a fibromyalgia patient. Massages are often helpful in loosening the muscles and thus calming the nerves so the pain is reduced. A rheumatologist should know what to advise each patient.


Psychological assistance - Suddenly having a disabling chronic illness can be a shock. You should reach out for support from family or other patients. Many fibromyalgia patients will experience depression at some point as a result of the great loss and frustration the debilitation causes. If that occurs, then psychological therapy and / or anti-depression medication may be appropriate.

Surgery instructions:

Due to the biological abnormalities, surgeons and anesthesiologists may need to alter their standard of care for fibromyalgia patients. See this advice from an expert and this card you should carry always.

The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in these topics is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.

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