What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain conditions, affecting more than 5 million people in the US. Yet, fibromyalgia can be difficult and, at times, a frustrating journey to diagnosis and treatment.

Fibromyalgia pain is different than pain you may experience from a headache or sprained ankle. Fibromyalgia is a specific kind of pain that’s chronic, widespread, and often accompanied by tenderness. “Chronic” means that the pain lasts a long time—at least 3 months or longer. Many people experience fibromyalgia pain for years before being diagnosed. “Widespread” means that it is felt all over, in both the upper and lower parts of the body. However, many people with fibromyalgia feel their pain in specific areas of their body, such as in their shoulder or neck. And “Tenderness” means that even a small amount of pressure can cause a lot of pain.