Fibromyalgia (cont.)

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What is the outlook (prognosis) for patients with fibromyalgia?

The outlook for patients with fibromyalgia is generally quite good. It is important to note that fibromyalgia is not an organ-threatening illness. Those patients with an approach to treatment that involves optimal understanding of the condition, as well as sleep improvement, stress reduction, and exercise, tend to do best.

Can fibromyalgia be prevented?

There is no method of preventing fibromyalgia. Exacerbations of fibromyalgia can be minimized with exercise, promotion of optimal sleep, stress reduction, and proper medical treatment.

What is in the future for fibromyalgia therapy?

The key to unlocking the mystery of fibromyalgia has yet to be found. Research scientists have been studying numerous viruses as potential causes for fibromyalgia. Identification of an infectious agent or toxin which causes the disease may one day lead to a laboratory test that can help doctors diagnose fibromyalgia. Specific fibromyalgia treatment aimed at a cure awaits future research that uncovers the exact cause of the disease.

Recent scientific studies suggest that a specific area of the brain called the insula may be involved in the pathophysiology of fibromyalgia. New drugs may be developed that block substance P or nerve growth factor to relieve pain of fibromyalgia. Many fibromyalgia patients can be helped by improved patient education, proper exercise, and medications. With ongoing research, the future prognosis will certainly improve for those affected by fibromyalgia.

Where can people find more information about fibromyalgia and support groups?

Arthritis Foundation
PO Box 19000
Atlanta, GA 30326

National Fibromyalgia Association

American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association


Klippel, John H., et al., eds. Primer on the Rheumatic Diseases. 13th ed. New York: Springer and Arthritis Foundation, 2008.

Rao, Srinivas G., Judith F. Gendreau, and Jay D. Kranzler. "Understanding the Fibromyalgia Syndrome." Psychopharmacol Bull. 40.4 (2008): 24-56.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/1/2013

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Fibromyalgia - Symptoms Question: The symptoms of fibromyalgia can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease?
Fibromyalgia - Treatments Question: What treatment has been effective for your fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia - Lifestyle Changes Question: What lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, etc.) have you found helpful in relieving fibromyalgia pain?