The symptoms of fibromyalgia can fluctuate in intensity and may improve or worsen over time. Factors such as stress, changes in climate, too much or too little exercise, and too much or too little rest can affect the severity of your symptoms. “
- Generalized muscle pain
The symptom by which fibromyalgia is known is undoubtedly chronic pain throughout the body. Specifically, the pain has to occur on both sides of your body, as well as above and below the waist to be diagnosed as fibromyalgia. The pain may travel to any other part of your body and the intensity of pain may vary. Fibromyalgia also has a tendency to increase or decrease, so the pain can vary on any day and even during the same day.
The National Association of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain reports that the following could affect pain levels:
Cold / humid weather
Physical and mental fatigue
Excessive physical activity
Most patients describe pain as a stiffness or pain that begins in specific areas. Fibromyalgia tends to begin in the neck and shoulder area and extends to the rest of the body from there. It is also common for pain to appear to come from the joints even though inflammation or swelling is not present. Sensitive spots are also common and usually produce acute pain when pressure is applied.
To be diagnosed as a chronic disease, this pain must be present for at least three months and should not be resolved or recurred.
- Muscle spasms
Muscle spasms can be a painful symptom fibro, or they can simply be an irritation when the muscle tightens and loosens on its own. This can interfere with sleep and daily activity.
- Headaches or migraines
Headaches are a common symptom of fibromyalgia. Some patients even experience extreme pain due to migraine. The intense pressure or palpitations of these migraines can spread further down the neck, shoulders and upper back. These headaches are often triggered by environmental factors such as:
These headaches can last several days and can be severe enough to disturb sleep.
- Rebound pain
When patients with fibromyalgia are free of pain, their first instinct may be to jump and do things. They can clean their house, meet friends for lunch and then go for a walk in the afternoon with their children. While all these things are wonderful, the result of this increased activity may be even worse, the pain later that night or the next day.
Doctors diagnose fibromyalgia in 18 sensitive spots in the body. These are symmetrical points located both above and below the waist. Patients with fibromyalgia may experience greater sensitivity in these areas when an outbreak is imminent, or they may feel these tender spots almost all the time.
Symptoms of gastrointestinal fibromyalgia
Many patients with fibromyalgia also suffer from gastrointestinal problems.
- Irritable bowel syndrome
Fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome are closely related, since pain and stiffness are common problems in both conditions. It is quite common for someone to have both disorders at the same time. IBS is another chronic pain condition that can lead to:
Severe abdominal pain
The pain can be so severe as to make a patient with fibromyalgia become sick to the stomach. This can cause a change in diet that could lead to other symptoms.
Some of those who have IBS experience constipation as their main manifestation of this syndrome.
- Excessive gas
Excess gas can be a symptom of IBS or it can occur as a result of dietary changes due to nausea or other causes.
For those patients with fibromyalgia who also experience IBS, if they do not suffer from constipation or excessive gas, they may find that their main symptom of fibromyalgia is diarrhea.
- Painful bladder syndrome
The Mayo Clinic reports that fibro often coexists with other conditions, such as interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome.
Symptoms of sensory fibromyalgia
One of the strangest effects of fibromyalgia is the distortion of the patient’s sensitivity to pain, cold, touch or even sensory stimuli such as smell.
- Increased sensitivity to pain
Those with chronic pain conditions experience changes in their brain that make their
- A body is more sensitive to pain over time. This is a common symptom of fibromyalgia.
- Pins and needles
Any involvement of the nerves can cause a tingling sensation in the hands and feet, which is often called a “tingling” sensation. SpineHealth notes that:
“Approximately 25% of patients with fibromyalgia report ‘poor circulation’ or numbness and tingling that is not in a root pattern and typically involves arms and hands. However, a physical examination reveals normal muscle strength and sensory tests, without inflammatory or arthritic features. “
- Greater general sensitivity
In addition to increases in pain sensitivity (which deserves its own approach), many patients with fibromyalgia also report an increased sensitivity to:
Patients with fibromyalgia are so sensitive throughout the body that even the slightest touch can cause them to shudder in surprise or pain. The nerve endings are hyperconscious and sensitive even to the least stimulation of seams and labels on clothing.
However, due to greater sensitivity to cold, patients with fibromyalgia can look for a sweater on the sunniest days.
Cognitive symptoms of fibromyalgia
The diagnosis of fibromyalgia tends to focus more on physical symptoms, such as pain and fatigue. This makes sense, since these are the easiest indicators to identify and measure. However, there are a number of symptoms of cognitive and mental fibromyalgia that occur from this disorder that can also have a great impact on the quality of life.
Patients with fibromyalgia can forget about everyday things from where they put their keys to what they were supposed to get in the store. Memory loss and decreased verbal fluency are particularly severe fibromyalgia symptoms. While memory loss is common as the person ages, a study of cognitive function in patients with fibromyalgia showed that those with fibromyalgia had the cognitive ability and memory of someone 20 years older than him.
- Inability to concentrate, or “fibro fog”
The most common symptom of mental fibromyalgia is what is known as fibro fog or brain fog. This includes many different cognitive difficulties, such as:
Becoming easily confused
Feeling “foggy” or “fuzzy”
Difficulty focusing for long periods of time
Being unable to focus or pay attention
This fibrous fog is usually caused by overstimulation, high stress, lack of sleep and some medications. This fog may appear to be taking cold medicine. For many patients, it is one of the most frustrating symptoms of fibromyalgia on a day-to-day basis.
- Problems with balance and coordination
Many with fibromyalgia also report that they have problems balancing upright or maintaining basic coordination. This could be due to fatigue, but it is also a separate symptom of this syndrome.
Between the lack of sleep that is often a symptom of fibromyalgia and the amount of effort required by the smallest task during an outbreak, patients with fibromyalgia can be deeply fatigued. Many who have fibromyalgia experience sleep disorders. The constant pain itself can be exhausting. Those who suffer from fibro tend to report that they have trouble getting a good night’s sleep and feel tired when they wake up. Exhaustion is so synonymous with fibro that some experts believe that without interruption of sleep and chronic fatigue, it can not be considered a true case of fibromyalgia.
Those who suffer from Fibro have a way of describing this. They call themselves “ladles,” comparing the amount of energy they have each day in terms of how many spoons they have. If a patient with fibromyalgia has ten spoons per day and uses eight to prepare for work, they know that they must make adjustments to rest the rest of the day.
Mood disorders related to fibromyalgia
If you have fibromyalgia, you are also more likely to experience mood disorders.
As with all patients with chronic pain, patients with fibromyalgia are more likely to develop depression as a direct result of their condition. Research has shown that those diagnosed with fibro are three times more likely to have depression compared to those who do not. Depression is one of the most important symptoms to determine early, as it can be difficult to self-identify. It can also lead to other negative effects that can
- They may aggravate other symptoms of fibromyalgia, such as:
- Loss of interest in activities
- Decrease in energy
- Sadness or persistent anxiety
- In more advanced cases, it can lead to a feeling of worthlessness and thoughts about death. This can be exacerbated by his inability to regularly attend therapy. In addition, when depression is comorbid with a chronic pain condition, the condition will generally not improve unless depression is also treated
- Nervous energy
When patients with fibromyalgia feel good, they can be almost frantic in their desire to do things. Whether playing with your children or simply doing housework without pain, this can cause rebound pain later on.
Waiting for the next painful outbreak can cause a constant hum of low level anxiety. In some patients, this anxiety may begin to become a fear of leaving the house, just in case an outbreak should start. This can also manifest itself as a panic attack if fibro symptoms suddenly erupt away from home.
- Emotional sensitivity
As anyone could expect, having any chronic pain condition can make the person who is suffering feel irritable and short tempered. However, for fibro patients it is more than that.
Many patients have reported that their emotional reactions are much stronger and have less control over how they express them. Irritability is one of the most common manifestations of this and this sensitivity can increase tremendously with lack of sleep. This sensitivity is true for negative and positive emotions alike.
Mood swings can also have a great impact on the daily lives of people with fibromyalgia. Many people diagnosed with fibromyalgia can go from happy to angry in a minute or less. Very often the sudden changes in mood are inexplicable, so it can have such a devastating effect on one’s professional and personal life.
- Greater stress
The stress of painful fibromyalgia outbreaks can cause patients to experience symptoms of the type of post-traumatic stress disorder, such as inability to relax and hypervigilance. This high level of constant stress can lead to other health problems.
Other symptoms of fibromyalgia
There are other symptoms of fibromyalgia that are related to, but do not fit directly into any of the other categories. Those include the following.
- Sleep disorders
Patients with chronic pain often experience sleep disorders, and patients with fibromyalgia are not different. Pain can make it difficult to feel comfortable enough to fall asleep, and the slightest movement can cause pain that awakens them.
OnHealth reports that:
“Normally, there are several levels of sleep and getting enough deeper levels of sleep can be even more important than the total hours of sleep. Patients with fibromyalgia lack the deep and repairing level of sleep, called non-rapid motion sleep (NREM). As a result, patients with fibromyalgia often wake up in the morning without feeling fully rested, even though they seem to have had an adequate number of hours of sleep. “
- Rigidity of the joint
Especially in the morning, stiffness of the joint can be a common symptom of fibromyalgia. But it is a double-edged sword: the more a patient moves, the less rigid he will be, but the pain often makes the movement very difficult.
- Menstrual pain or changes
Women may experience more pain during their menstrual cycle, including cramping and lower back pain. They may also experience irregular menstrual cycles or changes in their cycle of duration and heaviness. Healthline reports that:
“In a report by the National Fibromyalgia Association, women with the condition have more painful periods than usual. Sometimes the pain fluctuates with your menstrual cycle. The majority of women with fibromyalgia are also between 40 and 55 years old. Research suggests that the symptoms of fibromyalgia may worsen in postmenopausal women or that they are experiencing menopause. “
- Greater likelihood of other health conditions
While not a direct symptom of fibromyalgia, the symptoms of fibromyalgia can greatly affect a person’s ability to participate in their normal routines and activities. If these include a routine of regular exercise that is no longer regular or so vigorous, a patient with fibromyalgia may encounter a higher body mass index. This can lead to other health problems, such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.