Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that causes pain and physical disability. It is estimated to affect up to 5% of the world’s population, making it one of the most common medical conditions. The causes of Fibromyalgia are still uncertain; however, research suggests that it may be triggered by physical or emotional trauma or stress.
Early diagnosis and identification of signs and symptoms are essential for successful management. Therefore, understanding the signs of Fibromyalgia is vital in seeking treatment.
Here are the most common signs and symptoms of Fibromyalgia that you should be aware of:
1. Chronic widespread pain: Chronic pain is one of the main symptoms of Fibromyalgia. People suffering from Fibromyalgia may experience aching and relentless pain throughout their bodies. It commonly occurs in the neck, back, shoulders and hips, but can also be felt in other areas such as the knees, hands, arms, and legs.
2. Fatigue: Those suffering from fibromyalgia can experience extreme fatigue and an overwhelming sense of tiredness even after sleeping for eight or more hours each night. This fatigue can be so intense it makes daily activities difficult to complete.
3. Cognitive issues: Fibromyalgia can cause problems with concentration and memory, otherwise known as “fibro fog” or “brain fog”. Fibromyalgia can lead to difficulties in understanding and forming thoughts, as well as memory problems and difficulty concentrating. Affected individuals may find it difficult to pay attention for long periods or stay focused on tasks.
4. Sleep disturbances: Those with fibromyalgia may experience difficulty sleeping, waking up several times throughout the night, or feeling unrested even after sleeping for an extended amount of time. A decrease in the amount of deep sleep experienced is often observed in Fibromyalgia patients.
5. Painful tender points: Fibromyalgia is characterized by tender areas called “tender points” that are located on specific parts of the body such as the back of the neck, elbows, shoulders, or hips. These are sensitive areas of their body that cause extreme pain and discomfort when pressure is applied to them.
6. Anxiety and panic attacks: Fibromyalgia can cause high levels of anxiety that can be debilitating to daily routines. This could be due to worries about how they will manage daily tasks while living with this chronic disorder.
7. Depression: Patients with fibromyalgia may also experience bouts of depression due to the physical and mental effects of the condition.
8. Headaches and Migraines: People suffering from Fibromyalgia sometimes experience intense headaches which can last for hours at a time and worsen over time if not treated properly. Migraines are another common complaint among those living with the disorder; these headaches generally involve severe throbbing pain along with sensitivity to light and sound.
9. Joint stiffness / tightness: Many people with fibromyalgia report feeling stiff or tight throughout their body which is usually worse in the morning when they first wake up but can continue during other parts of the day as well depending on how active they have been lately or what type of activity they were performing. Joint swelling, tenderness, stiffness, and pain are all frequent complaints among those affected by this condition, especially if there has been recent overuse (such as lifting heavy objects without proper rest afterward). In some cases, joint inflammation might accompany this issue alongside noticeable redness around affected areas.
10. Muscle spasms/twitching: Spasms and twitching are common symptoms of fibromyalgia as well. affected individuals may experience sudden jerking movements in various areas such as the legs, arms, and face due to muscle spasms which can be quite uncomfortable and even painful if not managed properly
11. Temperature sensitivity: Individuals affected by fibromyalgia typically find that their bodies react differently when exposed to certain temperatures such as hot or cold weather; for example, some people may feel overly sensitive towards cold temperatures while others might notice an increased sense of fatigue after being exposed to too much heat for prolonged periods without rest breaks in between exposure sessions.
12. Numbness and tingling sensations: Fibromyalgia can cause a tingling sensation or numbness on different parts of the body, usually in the hands and feet but can spread elsewhere as well. These feelings are often described as pins-and-needles-type sensations that come out of nowhere before lasting for minutes at a time until eventually subsiding again just like they had arrived suddenly.
13. Nausea: A symptom stemming from headaches, nausea is common among those who suffer from fibromyalgia.
14. Dizziness and balance problems: Those suffering from fibromyalgia can become dizzy easily, especially when standing up suddenly from sitting for too long or after physical activity. Dizziness is an often overlooked symptom associated with fibromyalgia, and many sufferers report feeling unsteady on their feet accompanied by disorientation due to lightheadedness which can be quite concerning.
15. Digestive issues and “irritable bowel syndrome” (IBS): Those with Fibromyalgia frequently report experiencing abdominal pain, nausea, and constipation due to a disruption in their digestive system functioning normally which is often referred to as “irritable bowel syndrome” (IBS). Diarrhea and bloating are also commonly reported issues among those living with Fibromyalgia.
16. Mood Changes: Those living with Fibromyalgia may have difficulty managing their moods more than normal, resulting in feelings of anxiety, depression, or irritability. These symptoms could be the result of long-term pain or sleep deprivation, or they could be linked to hormonal imbalances caused by the condition itself.
17. Sensitivity to loud noises/bright lights: People suffering from fibromyalgia commonly complain about being overly sensitive towards certain sounds (i.,e., loud noises) or bright lights which again could be attributed either directly to the disorder itself OR potentially linked indirectly by way of having poor quality sleep patterns over extended periods leading up prior exposure experiences.
It is important to remember that symptoms of fibromyalgia may vary greatly from person to person and not everyone experiences all of these symptoms. If you think you may be suffering from fibromyalgia, it is important to speak to a healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment options. Early detection and treatment of fibromyalgia are key to managing the condition and living a long and healthy life while gaining greater control over their symptoms.