Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Beverly Johnson




Fibromyalgia is a nonarticular rheumatic disease of unknown origin. It is diagnosed by the presence of widespread pain of more than three months duration and tenderness at 11 or more of 18 tender point sites. Typical symptoms of this syndrome are generalized pain, stiffness, and chronic fatigue due to sleep disturbances. Other uncommon symptoms include headaches, anxiety, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, and numbness. These symptoms become worse with the presence of modulating factors such as weather, stress, fatigue, overexertion, or inactivity.

The purposes of this independent study are to examine the prevalence and demographics of this disorder, discuss the etiology and pathophysiology, list common symptoms, and present diagnostic criteria that have been proposed in the literature. In addition, suggestions will be provided on how to best manage this disorder.