Fibromyalgia is a condition affecting approximately two percent of all Canadians.
It is a condition of chronic muscle pain that can be felt in multiple areas of the body. The pain of fibromyalgia can vary from person to person and day to day. Even though people with fibromyalgia may feel a lot of pain, research shows the pain of fibromyalgia does not cause any damage to your muscles or joints.
Fibromyalgia presents as burning, achy or tingling pain that is felt above and below the waist and on both sides of the body and is lasting longer than 3 months
Other symptoms may include:
• Increased sensitivity to pressure, temperature, humidity, light and sound
• Tiredness or lack of energy
• Disturbed sleep
• Forgetfulness or difficulty concentrating
Fibromyalgia may also present with other conditions such as
• Irritable bowel syndrome
• Headaches
• Painful bladder syndrome
• Temporomandibular joint disorders


Fact or Fiction?

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about fibromyalgia.
Try this short quiz to test your knowledge about the facts.

People with fibromyalgia should avoid exercise.

You answered:

The correct answer is: fiction.

Exercise is one of the most effective treatments for fibromyalgia.

It is recommended that you start where you can and slowly increase exercise. If pain and fatigue make physical activity difficult begin with a short walk or try tai chi and gradually build from there (NIAMS, 2017).

Meditation can ease fibromyalgia pain.

You answered:

The correct answer is: fact.

Meditation is a mind-body exercise that helps you quiet your mind by focusing on your breathing. Studies have shown that if practiced regularly, meditation can ease the pain and anxiety for individuals with fibromyalgia. Practicing meditative movement therapies such as yoga and tai chi have been shown to improve sleep disturbance, fatigue and depression (Rheumatology International, 2013).

Diagnosis of Fibromyalgia

Diagnosing Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is diagnosed by a primary care provider, rheumatologist, or pain specialist. There is no specific test to diagnose fibromyalgia. Instead, the goal is to rule out other conditions that may present with similar symptoms (such as hypothyroidism, medication side effects, and inflammatory or autoimmune diseases).
Your assessment for fibromyalgia may include:
• Medical history
• Physical exam
• Blood test(s) which may include complete blood count (CBC), erythrocyte sedimentations rate (ESR), C-reactive protein, creatinine kinase and thyroid function (+ Rheumatoid Factor).

Treatments & Self-Management

Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition with a wide range of possible symptoms and treatment options. There is no cure for fibromyalgia. People with fibromyalgia should focus on exercise, relaxation, stress reduction, and medication as well as other lifestyle changes to improve their function


Fibromyalgia can be managed. Self-management is one of the most important treatments in your chronic pain journey. Studies have shown that when people actively manage their pain on a daily basis, they get the best results.

There are many self-management strategies that can help reduce pain.

  • Becoming knowledgeable about chronic pain and what is happening in your body.
  • Staying active every day by stretching and walking to improve your pain levels.
  • Pacing your activities throughout the day to reduce your risk of flare up.
  • Practicing daily relaxation techniques.
  • Learning how to communicate with family, friends, and care providers.
  • Learning how to cope with the emotions of having chronic pain including depression and anxiety.
  • Improving your sleep so you can get more rest and cope better with your pain.
  • Listening to your body to learn which treatments work best for you and to avoid flare ups.

Physiotherapy and Exercise

Physiotherapy will help you improve your posture, physical function and quality of life as you become more active.

Active physiotherapy techniques will help with long term relief of pain symptoms. A physiotherapist can advise you about how to start becoming more active.

Active physiotherapy involves using movement-based treatments requiring active participation of the patient such as flexibility, strengthening, breath work.

Passive physiotherapy involves treatments that do not require the patient to use energy. These include massage, therapeutic ultrasound, traction, and the TENS machine.

  1. If you live in the GTA, complete our self-assessment form to see if you can be referred to TAPMI.
  2. Look for a self management group in your community such as this one run by the province Ontario:
  3. Connect yourself to physiotherapy and exercise groups in your community
    Internet key word search:
    • Fibromyalgia group physiotherapy in [Community]
    • Fibromyalgia exercise groups in [Community]
    • Exercise groups in [Community]
    • Chronic pain self management programs with physiotherapy in [Community]
    When calling clinics or programs ask about
    • Exercise based physiotherapy
    • Self management programs with physiotherapy
    • Graded exposure physiotherapy


Psychological approaches to pain management address the emotional aspects of pain and fibromyalgia, such as feeling sad or depressed, feeling anxious or worried, feeling hopeless and being angry or irritable.

Therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy can help you focus on how to deal with your pain and the emotions that come with it. These therapies will teach you how making even small changes can start to improve your pain.

  1. If you live in the GTA, complete our self-assessment form to see if you can be referred to TAPMI.
  2. Look for a self management group in your community such as this one run by the province Ontario:
  3. For free information regarding Mental Health Services in Ontario visit A referral specialist will answer
  4. Crisis Lines/Mobile Crisis Units (If you are very distressed and need immediate assistance):
    Gerstein Crisis Centre: 416-929-5200 (downtown Toronto, York). Telephone crisis intervention and mobile crisis team.
  5. Visit TAPMI's self help module for chronic pain to help you with strategies to manage your pain.

76 Grenville St. Toronto, ON M5S 1B2 Canada

TAPMI Hub Clinic

Phone: 416-323-6269 Office Fax: 416-323-2666 Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday – Friday


Dr. Tania Di Renna, Medical Director Sandra Robinson, Administrative Director