View All Arthritis Types FibromyalgiaFibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic condition that affects the central nervous system. The defining symptom of FM is widespread pain that is experienced throughout the body. The pain can vary from person to person, may move around the body from time to time and may change in intensity on an hourly or daily basis. People with FM may also experience symptoms such as fatigue, sleep difficulties, lack of concentration and memory, mood swings, gastrointestinal problems (e.g., constipation, diarrhea, etc.) and have a heightened sensitivity to touch and pressure, which can sometimes cause pain.

It is a relatively common condition affecting two per cent of Canadians, primarily occurring in women (80 to 90 per cent), but can also affect men, teenagers and children.

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What is Fibromyalgia?
What are the symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
How is Fibromyalgia diagnosed?
Body parts affected by Fibromyalgia
Risk factors

Why is treatment for fibromyalgia so important?

Although there is no single treatment that works for everyone, over time most people with FM will discover, with the help of their health-care team, what offers them the best relief. Often, medications will only provide modest relief from symptoms. However, good health-related practices such as regular physical activity, keeping a routine and pacing and controlling stress can all help improve FM symptoms. Eliminating all symptoms is rarely achieved; therefore the aim of a treatment plan should be to improve your symptoms as best as possible so that you continue leading an active and enjoyable life.

Managing Fibromyalgia

There is no single treatment that works for everyone. Over time, most people with FM will find the balance of treatments that gives them the best relief. Your first important step is to become an active participant in your treatment and develop coping strategies to manage your FM. It is also important to learn more about your condition and share that information with family and friends, so they can better understand what you’re experiencing and how it affects you.

Non-medication therapies, such as physical activity (walking, low-impact aerobic programs, yoga, tai chi, aquatic programs, using an exercise bike or treadmill), stress management and relaxation techniques, are a very important part of treating FM. It is important to note that comfortable physical activity is good for your overall health and will not cause you harm. You can also try keeping a diary over several weeks to encourage you to keep up a regular routine. This can help to keep track of the connection between your FM symptoms and your daily activities, which can help you manage your FM.
Physical activity
Healthy eating
Complementary therapy
Arthritis medications are designed to control a disease, slow its progression, and to help manage pain. There is a wide range of options – with new ones coming on the horizon – so understanding all possible treatments is not easy. 

These medications can be very complex, so you are encouraged to ask for in-depth explanations from your health care team – including pharmacists, who are an excellent source of information. 

To explore this area of treatment, The Arthritis Society has developed a comprehensive expert guide that delivers detailed information on medications used to treat arthritis.

Explore the Arthritis Medications A Reference Guide

The optimal treatment is what is best in each individual case – so speak with your doctor and/or pharmacist about what kind of medications are most appropriate for you.

Educational Programs 

The Arthritis Society provides a range of in-person workshops and online programs, all with a specific focus in mind. They include chronic pain management, overcoming fatigue, understanding your health-care team, symptom checkers, and more. Participants learn new information and skills, and for in-person workshops, can share ideas and experiences with others.

Explore arthritis workshops and courses


Discover information you can trust, because it’s based on evidence and vetted by experts, in The Society’s resource area. Learn about each disease, possible treatments, self-management, lifestyle issues, and so much more.

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Evidence-based content to help you learn about the disease, treatments and self-management.