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Evidence-based Overviews | Treatments & Self-Management | Associated Conditions | Decision Aids and Toolkits  | Recommended Books | Related WWDPI WebinarsWork AccommodationOrganizations | Further Resources

Woman with PainFibromyalgia is a chronic pain illness characterized by widespread musculoskeletal aches, pain and stiffness, soft tissue tenderness, general fatigue and sleep disturbances. 

Although researchers initially thought the disease affected muscle tissue, we now know it is due to the impairment of pain processing mechanisms within the central nervous system.

Fibromyalgia affects three to six percent (3 to 6 out of 100) of the population. It varies in severity. Some patients are very mildly affected, while others are very disabled. Some possible symptoms are:

  • widespread pain
  • non-restorative sleep (sleep after which they do not feel rested)
  • depression
  • irritable bowel syndrome (chronic constipation and/or diarrhea)
  • temporomandibular joint dysfunction (jaw pain)
  • painful bladder syndrome (painful or frequent urination)

Evidence-based Overviews​​​

Canadian guidelines for the diagnosis and management of fibromyalgia syndrome in
FibromyalgiaNational Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Disorders
FibromyalgiaNational Health Services (NHS) (UK)
Fibromyalgia (including self-help and daily living)Arthritis Research UK
What is Fibromyalgia?Arthritis Society, Canada
What is Fibromyalgia?American College of Rheumatology

Associated Conditions  

Sleep disorders – Some people with fibromyagia have sleep disorders as a primary cause for their fatigue and discomfort. It is important to check whether your fibromyalgia is caused by an  underlying sleep disorder.  Sleep disorders can contribute to depression and some sleep disorders increase the risk for other health conditions including cardiovascular disease.  Fortunately many people can improve their sleep quality through self-management and/or the use of various appliances to address sleep apnea.


Decision Aids and Toolkits  ​

Canadian Pain Toolkit - People in Pain NetworkPeople in Pain Network
FibroGuide: Fibromyalgia Interactive TutorialChronic Pain and Fatigue Research Centre, University of Michigan
Managing Chronic Pain: A Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Approach Workbook Book by John D. Otis
Online Pain Toolkit
The Mindfulness Solution to Pain: Step-by-Step Techniques for Chronic Pain Management
American Chronic Pain Association
Arthritis Society of Canada
Canadian Pain Society
Cochrane Musculoskeletal Group
Dieticians of Canada
Independent Living Institute
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Fibromyalgia Society of BC
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
Neil Squire Society
Physiotherapy Association of British Columbia
The National Fibromyalgia Association

Further Resources  

Fibromyalgia Treatment Options

WWDPI Chronic Pain Webinars - many chronic pain videos including webinars on mindfulness, yoga for pain, and spirituality and pain.


​Reviewed by Marc White PhD, Scientific & Executive Director, WWDPI (See Review Criteria)​

Last Modified: 6/12/2018 11:22 AM