Fibromyalgia, also known as fibromyalgia syndrome, is a chronic condition that characteristically causes pain throughout the body, including muscle and joint pain, fatigue, and digestive problems, with only some signs of fibromyalgia being, but including others as well, such as depression and social isolation.
Fibromyalgia is a particularly distressing condition, which can affect someone both mentally and physically. Upon awakening, someone with fibromyalgia commonly experiences a rapid onset of fatigue when trying to move their body.
The serious mental and physical complications of fibromyalgia can make the daily routine a difficult road to navigate. Before we delve into the signs of fibromyalgia, here are some relevant facts about the condition:
- Women ages 25 to 60 make up the majority of fibromyalgia patients.
- Women are 10 times more likely to develop the disease.
- The diagnosis of fibromyalgia requires a complete physical examination, as a physician must rule out any other similar conditions.
- A blood test, specifically a complete blood count (FBC) and thyroid exam, is routinely performed to diagnose the condition.
- Following a fibromyalgia diagnosis, patients are often referred to a rheumatologist for appropriate treatment.
Table of Contents
Ways You May Be Showing Signs of Fibromyalgia.
We hope this article helps those who may be affected with fibromyalgia seek medical guidance.
1. Pain from head to toe.
Most of those who visit the doctor – and are eventually diagnosed with fibromyalgia – complain of proliferating body pain. About 97 percent of people with fibromyalgia experience pain throughout the body.
Fibromyalgia pain is often described as “deep, sharp, and throbbing,” and it can affect the ligaments, muscles, and tendons. The pain associated with fibromyalgia is often consistent and does not respond to over-the-counter pain medications.
2. Persistent fatigue or exhaustion.
Fatigue is the second most common complaint in people diagnosed with this condition. It is one of the easiest signs of fibromyalgia to detect. The main difference between someone experiencing “tiredness” and extreme fatigue (i.e., exhaustion) is the duration of the associated symptoms.
Those with fibromyalgia frequently associate their feeling of fatigue as if they were affected by the flu. They are simply unable to move at a normal level. This feeling of exhaustion applies to simple tasks, exercise, and even waking up.
3. Stiffness of the body.
More than 75 percent of those with the condition experience body stiffness, particularly during the morning hours. This physical sense of stiffness is similar to those diagnosed with arthritis, especially inflammatory or rheumatoid arthritis.
In some cases, these symptoms disappear in 10 to 15 minutes; In others, they will last most of the day, if not all waking hours.
4. Poor quality sleep.
Due to their physical and mental states, those with fibromyalgia have a difficult time getting quality sleep. One reason for this is the erratic brain activity experienced in fibromyalgia patients at rest. This discomfort when falling asleep is followed by interruptions caused by irregular brain activity.
6. Abnormal digestion.
Constipation, diarrhea, and bloating are potential symptoms of fibromyalgia. About 40 to 70 percent of patients experience symptoms similar to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS. Acid reflux and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) are reported at a similar rate.
7. Numbness, swelling and tingling.
About half of people with fibromyalgia experience a “pricking” sensation in their arms, feet, hands, and legs, a condition known as paresthesia. For some, these sensations may last no more than a few minutes; for others, they can be quite consistent.
Similar to many fibromyalgia-related symptoms, paresthesia is often barely noticeable. It is important, however, for those who experience frequent numbness, swelling, and tingling in the arms, feet, hands, or legs, to seek medical advice.
5. “Trigger points” that evoke pain or tenderness.
Similar to arthritis patients, those with fibromyalgia often have “trigger points,” or areas of the body that produce disproportionate painful sensations.
Unfortunately, when pressure is applied, these “trigger points” are extremely painful. Fortunately, when fibromyalgia is diagnosed, a specialist can provide valuable information on its management.
8. Spasms of the fingers and toes.
It is said that in 25 to 50 percent of fibromyalgia patients, arterial spasms of the hands or toes are present. This symptom occurs as a result of exposure to cold or stress. It is important to note that the affected areas are often bluish or pale in color and it is also accompanied by pain. Known as Raynaud’s syndrome, or Raynaud’s phenomenon, the aforementioned symptoms often dissipate when heat is applied.
9. Sensitivity to temperature.
Due to their body condition, it is very difficult for those with fibromyalgia to regulate their body temperature. As you’ve probably already noticed, some of the aforementioned symptoms are strikingly similar to arthritis. It is common for fluctuations in temperature to be unwelcome by people with fibromyalgia. Sometimes grieving patients complain that the environment is too cold or hot for their liking – a symptom that makes it difficult for them to be productive or to rest properly.
10. “Fibro fog”.
Similar to “brain fog”, one of the also very common signs of fibromyalgia, it can manifest as concentration problems. Additionally, people with this condition may experience short-term memory difficulties. They may also have general feelings of confusion, forgetfulness, and lack of mental clarity.
Without proper medical intervention, “fibro-fog” can negatively affect daily life. This is particularly evident during work or personal time.