Fibromyalgia is a widespread chronic pain syndrome that occurs mostly in women 20 to 50 years old. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases estimates that five million people in the U.S. suffer from fibromyalgia. Even though it’s so wide-spread, the cause of fibromyalgia is still unclear, and fibromyalgia symptoms can be just as varied and complex.
A fibromyalgia symptoms list
Fibromyalgia is diagnosed as a syndrome–a collection of signs, symptoms, and medical problems–not just by one marker. The three fibromyalgia symptoms that point most directly to a diagnosis are:Mesothelioma Law Firm
- Widespread pain on both sides of the body, and above and below the waist
- Cognitive difficulties
However, fibromyalgia is a complex chronic pain syndrome that affects every aspect of a person’s life. This post will go over all of these fibromyalgia symptoms in more detail, as well as specific fibromyalgia symptoms in women. A full fibromyalgia symptoms list varies from patient to patient, but it could include any of the following 27 fibromyalgia symptoms:
- Widespread muscle soreness
- Muscle spasms
- Headaches or migraines
- Rebound pain
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Excessive gas
- Painful bladder syndrome
- Increased sensitivity to pain
- Pins and needles sensations
- Increased overall sensitivity to cold and touch
- Inability to concentrate, or “fibro fog”
- Problems with balance and coordination
- Nervous energy
- Emotional sensitivity
- Increased stress response
- Sleep disorders
- Joint stiffness
- Menstrual pain or changes
- Increased chance of other health conditions
Knowing these symptoms and if they affect you can help when it comes to diagnosis. It takes years for the average person to be diagnosed. This is because the symptoms of fibromyalgia overlap with many other disorders. The following video gives a bit more information about this pain syndrome.
Pain is one of the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia, and it’s a required component of any diagnosis. But, as EverydayHealth explains:
“Fibromyalgia symptoms may fluctuate in intensity, and may improve or worsen over time. Factors such as stress, changes in weather, too much or too little exercise, and too much or too little rest can affect the severity of your symptoms.”
That means that an activity that caused you pain one day might be fine the next, and vice versa. Even so, here’s how fibromyalgia pain symptoms can affect your life.
1. Widespread muscle soreness
The symptom that fibromyalgia is known for is most certainly 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 can travel to every other part of your body and the intensity of the pain can vary. Fibromyalgia also has the tendency to wax and wane, so pain can vary on any given day and even during the same day.
The National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association reports that the following could all affect pain levels:
- Cold/humid weather
- Non-restorative sleep
- Physical and mental fatigue
- Excessive physical activity
- Physical inactivity
Most patients describe the pain as a stiffness or aching starting in specific areas. Fibromyalgia tends to begin in the neck and shoulders area and spread out to the rest of the body from there. It is also common for pain to feel like it is coming from the joints even though inflammation or swelling is not present. Tender points are also common and generally produce a sharp pain when pressure is applied.Mesothelioma Law Firm
In order to be diagnosed as a chronic condition, this pain must be present for at least three months and be unresolved or recurring.
2. Muscle spasms
Muscle spasms may be a painful fibro symptom, or they may simply be an irritation as the muscle clenches and unclenches on its own. This can interfere with sleep and daily activity.
3. Headaches or migraines
Headaches are a common symptom of fibromyalgia. Some patients even experience extreme migraine pain. The intense pressure or throbbing from these migraines can extend further down the body into the neck, shoulders, and upper back. These headaches are often triggered by environmental factors such as:
- Bright lights
- Loud sounds
- Powerful smells
These headaches can last for days and may be severe enough to disturb sleep.
Irritable bowel syndrome
Fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome are closely linked, as pain and stiffness are frequent problems in both conditions. It is quite common for someone to have both of these disorders at the same time. IBS is another chronic pain condition that can lead to:
- Severe abdominal pain
Pain can be so severe as to make a fibromyalgia patient sick to their stomach. This may cause a change in diet that could lead to other symptoms.
Some of those with IBS experience constipation as their primary manifestation of this syndrome.
9. Excessive gas
Excessive gas can either be a symptom of IBS, or it may occur as a result of dietary changes due to nausea or other causes.