Fibromyalgia Diagnosis, Leaves you Exhausted and Unable to Think

Fibromyalgia Diagnosis, Leaves you Exhausted and Unable to Think

People with fibromyalgia often describe their symptoms as a flu-like infection that doesn’t go away. It leaves you exhausted and unable to think or find the right words (symptoms of fibro fog). Many people with Fibromyalgia are exhausted to the point of collapse. No amount of sleep is refreshing or restful, and often the muscle pain keeps the person from getting any sleep at all. Symptoms can be debilitating and often the patient feels as if they have to push themselves to the breaking point to just do the simplest things.

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Constant pain throughout the body, often in the hands, feet, arms, legs, back, neck, and chest

The pain is unrelenting and is often described as burning, stabbing, radiating, tingling deep aching, or roaming. This pain does not ease with over-the-counter pain medication or other common remedies, and it is often more severe than what normal people feel. For example, if you pat someone gently on the back, it would not hurt them, but for someone with fibromyalgia, a simple hug or pat on the back can feel like being stabbed. The slightest touch is excruciating, for no other reason than the nerves are overly sensitive.

•Fatigue that no amount of sleep or caffeine/energy drinks resolves

The fatigue is not like the normal fatigue of a person who works hard and gets tired. It is a type of tiredness that lingers for months at a time and never goes away. Doing the simplest tasks, like making a meal, taking a shower, or getting dressed exhaust the person to the point where they feel they must take a nap. When doing regular household chores, they must stop and rest frequently before the task is complete. They have little to no stamina to speak of. The equivalent would be a “normal” person trying to live and function after not sleeping at all for three days.

•Sleep difficulties

Like insomnia, tossing and turning (because of pain), waking up several times a night, and a general sense of unrest in the mornings, as if you have not slept at all. The person often can not get through the day without a nap, because they are so tired and don’t sleep well at night. Typical sleep aids do not help. The brain simply doesn’t go into a deep enough stage of sleep to be restful for someone with Fibro. As a result, the person does not dream nearly as much as someone without Fibro.

•Brain fog, characterized by forgetfulness, memory problems, concentration problems

Being “spaced out” and unable to recall conversations, facts, numbers, or names, despite common “memory tricks“, lists or reminders. Often the person reads at a much slower rate than they are normally used to and comprehend less, or they mispronounce or stumble over words. Often they misspell words because they literally can’t remember how to spell.

•Morning stiffness that makes “jumping out of bed” impossible 

Often the stiffness is so bad that the person can’t move very well for several minutes or hours in the morning. Simple stretching does not take the stiffness away. The muscles of the body are constantly tight, despite regular massage and stretching.

•Muscle knots, cramping, a weakness that is not due to strenuous physical activity and overuse 

These things are a daily occurrence, despite rest and hydration. The most noticeable weakness is often in the arms and hands, and any repetitive activity (climbing stairs, typing, walking, kneeling, bending, lifting, etc.) aggravates and increases muscle pain. Often a person with Fibro can not lift a normal amount of weight that most people would find easy to carry. Their muscles just don’t work right.

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•Digestive and metabolic disorders 

Like IBS, heartburn, indigestion, intestinal cramps, diarrhea, and constipation. Gluten intolerance, insulin resistance, and other food sensitivities aren’t always a major concern by themselves but coupled with all the other symptoms, are part of the diagnosis of fibromyalgia. The brain doesn’t send out the right signals to the body to be able to digest and process food properly.

•Headaches/migraines are usually a symptom of some level of chemical or sensory sensitivity

Loud, high-pitched noises, bright lights, sunlight, perfumes or other strong smells, or certain chemicals in foods can cause headaches to worsen. Headaches are common and often feel as bad as a severe hangover, without the fun of drinking. Over-the-counter pain relievers do not help.

•Balance problems like feeling dizzy, lightheaded, and blurred vision

 Are all part of the neurological component to fibromyalgia’s effect on the body. Someone with fibromyalgia will often fall over, trip over things, or drop items they are holding. The person is not clumsy or stupid or slow. It is simply because the brain misfires and sends the wrong signals to the muscles and nerves. These things happen on a daily basis, not just every once in a while.

•Sensitivity to weather changes is often one of the key signs of fibromyalgia

People with fibromyalgia often have a hard time controlling their body temperature. The extreme heat of summer or the frigid cold of winter is often much more pronounced for someone with Fibro because they cannot cool or warm their body as well as a normal person. They will get heatstroke or hypothermia a lot faster than someone without fibromyalgia. Ironically, sometimes a person with fibromyalgia may feel like they are boiling to death in below 20 weather, or be freezing cold and shivering in 100 degree summers.

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References:

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