Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
What Are The Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
The symptoms of fibromyalgia are very varied depending on the fibro sufferer and it can even vary from day to day. This is why fibromyalgia is difficult to diagnose and also why we are often thought to be making up our symptoms. We may complain of leg pain and the next minute it can be back or arm pain.
Typical fibromyalgia symptoms are pain, fatigue, fogginess, soreness and more.
Not every patient will have all the fibromyalgia symptoms listed below, the pain tends to move around and the symptoms change from minute to minute.
Common Symptoms of Fibromyalgia Syndrome – FMS
Chronic Pain – The chronic pain of fibromyalgia
The predominant symptom of fibromyalgia is pain. Chronic pain that only changes in its location and intensity, this again varies daily. The pain can be a deep throbbing pain, a burning pain, a sharp stabbing, shooting pain or a dull ache. This is the most difficult symptom to live with. Constant pain, day in and day out.
Chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. The fatigue associated with fibro is overwhelming. You are bone tired; having a shower can quickly drain your energy resources. Again the fatigue changes on a daily basis. Fibro patients have to learn to do what they can get done on a good day and just rest on bad days.
Imagine having a really bad case of flu that has you bedridden. It is all you can do to muster up the energy to use the washroom and have a wash then you flop back into bed. You ache all over and can’t get comfy. That is what fibromyalgia is like, but unlike flu, that may last a week or two, fibromyalgia lasts forever. We live like that on a daily basis.
Fibro Fog Brain Fog
Fibromyalgia( fibro) fog. Remember when you had flu and just having to think or concentrate hurt? Your brain is all fuzzy and simply isn’t capable of logical thought. That is what fibro fog is like.
You do silly things because your brain is out to lunch. It is quite scary on occasion, you put car keys in the freezer and butter in the closet. Lock keys in the car or even forget the groceries you just purchased at the store. You think you are going crazy but the next day it has lifted somewhat and you can laugh off your actions.
Fibromyalgia sleep disorder. 80% of fibromyalgia patients have been found to have abnormal sleep patterns. They simply cannot achieve deep sleep for any reasonable length of time.
Deep sleep is when our body heals all the damage that is done during our daily activities. It is thought as we cannot achieve deep alpha sleep that our body is no longer able to heal itself therefore the pain gets worse. Our brain activity abnormally increases when we are supposed to be in deep sleep mode. The slightest sound can awaken you and due to the increased brain activity it is impossible to get back to sleep. Other sleep related fibromyalgia symptoms are restless leg syndrome, PLMs uncontrolled jerking of the arms and legs and teeth grinding.
Upon waking body stiffness can be really bad, making you walk like a very crippled up, elderly person. It is an effort to put one foot in front of the other! This stiffness can also be felt after sitting in one position for too long.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Fibromyalgia and IBS. Irritable bowel syndrome affects 75% of fibromyalgia patients. Similar to fibro, IBS is difficult to diagnose and it affects more women than men. It also tends to develop after an extremely stressful period.
Skin Tenderness and Sensitivity
Skin rashes and tenderness are a common symptom. If someone pokes you, the area can hurt and burn as if you were stabbed. The skin and tissue is hypersensitive. It is also therefore painful to receive hugs from people; a common saying with fibro patients is gentle hugs. This indicates a bear hug will be extremely painful and more than most of us could stand! Itching is another skin problem.
It is also painful for your partner to put their arm around you at night. It feels like a ten ton weight pressing down on your body and your ribs feel like they are being crushed.
Anxiety and Depression
Well heck it is no wonder people suffering with this condition get anxious or depressed is it?
Chronic pain every single day is enough to wear the strongest of us down. We try to keep upbeat for our partner and children but when lying awake for hours at night we often wonder what is there in life for us? Of course, come morning we feel better and ready to face another battle but when depression gets moderate to severe we must seek medical attention. Drug therapy can help us get back on course and be in the right frame of mind to fight this disorder.
Stress and fibromyalgia. Many doctors believe stress could be a trigger in a patient developing fibromyalgia. With divorce being more common these days it is no wonder more people are becoming stressed. Divorce, moving home, childbirth are but a few of the highest stressful events we can have in our life. Patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia will notice during high periods of stress their pain and symptoms become much worse and in most cases lead to a fibro flare.
Fibromyalgia tender points. There are 18 known tender points throughout the body, symmetrically placed 9 on each side and in order to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia you need to experience pain in 11 of the 18 tender points.The pain is experienced when your doctor applies pressure on the point. It is a dull throbbing burning pain. Generally if pain isn’t present in these tender point areas then you are not considered to have FMS.
Fibromyalgia tender points
To be diagnosed with fibromyalgia you must have pain in at least 11 of the 18 tender points. There are 9 pairs of tender points in specific locations on the body. Your doctor will apply pressure to these points to see if you react with pain. The pain is a deep burning pain and lasts for several seconds to minutes after the pressure is released.. The problem though like most fibromyalgia symptoms is the level of pain in your tender points varies daily also. What may not be painful one day can be excruciating the next !
These are the main fibromyalgia symptoms. It is common to experience many more than those listed above, we will go into more depth on each symptom in separate articles. For now, if you have several of the above symptoms including the tender points, please see your family physician and mention fibro.
Unfortunately many doctors still do not believe in fibromyalgia as a diagnosis despite thousands of people being diagnosed with it on a daily basis. If your doctor refuses to acknowledge fibromyalgia as a possibility for your symptoms, go to another doctor! We all need the proper care and attention from a doctor that trusts our word. Fibromyalgia is real!
As you can see, fibromyalgia symptoms are quite varied and even differ on a day to day, week to week basis. Anyone suffering similar fibromyalgia symptoms, or any pain that is ongoing, please see your family doctor and ask for a referral to a rheumatologist as these doctors specialize in fibro and understand the intricacies of your fibromyalgia symptoms.