Just Diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Now What?

Where Should You Start?

skynesher/Getty Images


"I was just diagnosed with fibromyalgia and I'm overwhelmed. I don't understand what this illness is or what I'm supposed to do next. My life has been a mess for months while doctors tried to figure out what was wrong with me, and now that I know what's wrong, I don't know what to do about it. Where do I start?"


It's normal to feel this way when you've been diagnosed with a chronic illness. Even if getting the diagnosis was, in some ways, a relief, it's a huge blow and a really scary time.

The good news is that now you do know what is wrong and can start figuring out what that means and how to manage it. While there's no known cure for this illness and you may always have some symptoms, with proper treatment and management, you can start to feel better and regain your quality of life.

Getting a Handle on Your Illness

One of the first things you'll want to do is gain an understanding of what's going on in your body. Then you can start making informed decisions about what direction to take next.

These articles can help:

I'm sure you're anxious to start exploring treatments and feeling better. Each case of fibromyalgia is different, so you'll likely need to try a lot of things before finding some that work. It's important to know that you'll likely face set backs. Also, some treatments may only help a little. That's ok -- the key is to look for several that all help some; no single treatment will take away all of your symptoms.

While you and your doctor are searching for effective treatments, there's plenty you can do on your own. Most of us need to make changes to our lifestyles and daily habits in order to make real improvements. It's normal to resist these changes. Change is always hard, and unwelcome, unasked-for change is especially difficult.

However, if you can identify and change things that make your illness more severe, the benefits are worthwhile.

Emotionally, this is probably going to be a difficult adjustment to make. It's completely normal to go through a range of emotions and to have ups and downs. Most of us go through a type of grieving process and have to reach a place of acceptance.

If you feel like you're "stuck," at any step of this process, remember that your doctor is an important resource. He or she may be able to offer solutions or, if needed, refer you to a mental-health specialist. That's something a lot of people with chronic illnesses need -- not because their illness is psychological, but because living with illness is hard.

Beyond the Basics

Once you've gotten past the initial steps of adjusting to your diagnosis, you're likely to need information and guidance about all kinds of things.

For that, be sure to explore the many articles on the following topics:

  • Symptoms: You could be dealing with any combination of 70-some symptoms, and some of them could seem really strange. Get in-depth information on what they are, what causes them, and how to treat and cope with them.
  • Treatment: Get a deeper look at treatment options, including prescription drugs, supplements, side effects, and complementary and alternative treatments.
  • Daily Life: Learn about all aspects of daily life with fibromyalgia, from work issues to diet and exercise to things like laundry and cooking. Get ideas from people who've been there so you don't have to learn it all the hard way!
Was this page helpful?