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Fatigue and Fibromyalgia


Fatigue and Fibromyalgia

Along with pain, a majority of fibromyalgia sufferers have sleep disorders that cause chronic fatigue to the point of exhaustion. Some experts believe that fibromyalgia prevents a person from entering the restorative part of the sleep process, which is one of the main characteristics of insomnia. Sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome (a movement disorder that disturbs sleep) have also been associated with fibromyalgia-related fatigue.

Cognitive and Physical Symptoms

Fibromyalgia has also been known to cause cognitive problems, such as difficulty concentrating or recalling information. This is known as “fibro fog. 

Physical symptoms can include tingling or numbness, headaches, dizziness, increased sensitivity to cold or heat, and digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome.

What Causes Fibromyalgia?

There’s no known cause for fibromyalgia, but preliminary research suggests genetics are involved. Other studies link viral or bacterial infections to fibromyalgia. Yet another study found abnormal levels of several brain chemicals that are common among people with fibromyalgia:

  • serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood

  • tryptophan, an amino acid that helps make serotonin

  • substance P, a protein involved in transmitting pain signals from the nerves to the brain

Fibromyalgia Treatment Options

For mild fibromyalgia suffers, symptoms can go away with simple relaxation and lifestyle changes. Studies show that improved fitness, especially aerobic exercise, can relieve fibromyalgia symptoms. Several other options have been successful to varying degrees, including: 

  • dietary changes

  • pain medications

  • antidepressants

  • massage

  • acupuncture

  • counselling

More Fibromyalgia Resources

Fibromyalgia pain, sleeplessness, and fatigue can drastically affect the quality of your life. This disorder has many myths about it, which is why getting the right information is so important. 

  • Find everything you need to know about fibromyalgia here. 

  • Learn how doctors are now diagnosing fibromyalgia.

  • Read about alternative treatments that can ease fibromyalgia symptoms.

Article Resources

  • Fibromyalgia. (2013, February).

  • Fleming, K.C. (2014, November 8). Is fibromyalgia hereditary?

  • Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014, February 20). Fibromyalgia: Definition.

  • Questions and answers about fibromyalgia. (2014, July).

  • Schwarz, M.J., Spath, M., Muller-Bardorff, H., Pongratz, D.E., Bondy, B., & Ackenheil, M. (1999, January 15). Relationship of substance P, 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid and tryptophan in serum of fibromyalgia patients. Neuroscience Letters, 259(3), 196-198.

  • Thomas, E.N., & Blotman, F. (2010, July). Aerobic exercise in fibromyalgia: a practical review [Abstract]. Rheumatology International, 30(9), 1143-1150.

  • 2010 fibromyalgia diagnostic criteria. (n.d.).


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