5 Ways to Manage Fibromyalgia Symptoms

By Erica Patino
Reviewed by Ethan T. Craig, M.D.
December 07, 2022

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 4 million adults in the United States live with fibromyalgia, a condition that causes broad pain and tenderness throughout the body. That’s roughly 2% of the population.

Although fibromyalgia may occur on its own, it’s also known to occur with some other health conditions. “Fibromyalgia can be a complication of other painful diagnoses,” says Arthur Mandelin, M.D., Ph.D., a board-certified rheumatologist and associate professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago. These can include conditions such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, psoriatic arthritis, and other types of arthritis. About 20% of people with these chronic disorders will also experience fibromyalgia, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

It’s not completely understood why. Some doctors believe that, due to the pain of these conditions, the body eventually forgets how to "shut off" pain, leading to more widespread pain that’s characteristic of fibromyalgia. “For some people, they don't have any sort of triggering trauma before developing fibromyalgia, while others may have an underlying painful diagnosis that then evolves into fibromyalgia,” Mandelin says.