Fibromyalgia | Fibromyalgia Symptoms | Fibromyalgia Causes
Fibromyalgia – Symptoms and Causes
Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by generalized musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood problems. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting how the brain and spinal cord treat painful and non-painful signals.
Symptoms often begin after an event, such as pain, physical trauma, surgery, infection, or severe psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time without a single trigger event. Women are more likely to develop widespread pain in fibromyalgia than men.
Many people with fibromyalgia also have tension headaches, temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ), irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, and depression. Although there is no cure for fibromyalgia, a variety of drugs can help control your symptoms. Exercise, relaxation, and stress reduction measures can also help.
May is month is used as fibromyalgia chronic condition awareness.
Primary symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
- Widespread pain. Generalized pain. Pain associated with fibromyalgia is often described as a constant dull pain that lasted at least three months. To be considered widespread, pain should occur on both sides of the body and above and below the waist.
- Fatigue. People with fibromyalgia often wake up tired, even if they report sleeping for long periods of time. Sleep is often disturbed by pain, and many patients with fibromyalgia have other sleep disorders, such as restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea.
- Cognitive difficulties. A symptom commonly called “fibro fog” impairs the ability to focus, pay attention and focus on mental tasks.
The fibromyalgia symptoms list that we present on this page is an addition to the main Fibromyalgia Symptoms page (our unique perspective on dealing with various fibromyalgia symptoms using our protocol) Why do you NEED an accurate SYMPTOMS LIST?
Well, because there are too many generic inaccurate fibromyalgia symptoms list out there that just state a lot of symptoms, without regard to PRIMARY and SECONDARY, and without regard to the possibility of missing other conditions. Please know that it is IMPERATIVE to distinguish between primary and secondary symptoms so that you do not miss another condition outside of the fibro. That is what we do here. This is not a random list of symptoms because that can be very dangerous. Yes, fibro is complex, but we are supporting the WHOLE you.
Some of the following links will be updated as new and more specific articles are published here on the site. This extended fibromyalgia symptoms list will get you familiar with the various symptoms and treatment options (not false cures) as you study our entire protocol for “eating the fibromyalgia elephant one symptom at a time”.
Whether you have been living with fibromyalgia for much of your lifetime, or are newly diagnosed, our site is designed to be user friendly and help you to live a better quality of life with fibromyalgia.
F-G says, “Check below my fibromyalgia symptoms lists.”
Please trust me when I say that fibromyalgia is a very complex syndrome, and there are no “silver bullets”. But there are solutions that will help us to live a better quality of life.
And, those solutions vary depending on the symptom. If we are going to create a better quality of life, following our protocols is the most effective way, but as always, this is NOT about perfection.
Fibromyalgia often co-exists with other conditions, such as:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Migraine and other types of headaches
- Interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome
- Temporomandibular joint disorders
- Postural tachycardia syndrome
Many researchers believe that repeated nerve stimulation provokes the change in the brain and spinal cord of people with fibromyalgia.
This change implies an abnormal increase in the levels of certain chemicals in the brain that signal pain. In addition, brain pain receptors seem to develop some kind of painful memory and become sensitized, which means that they can react excessively to painful and non-painful signals.
There are likely many factors that lead to these changes, including:
- Genetics. Since fibromyalgia tends to run in families, there may be certain genetic mutations that can make you more sensitive to the development of the disorder.
- Infections. Some diseases seem to trigger or worsen fibromyalgia.
- Physical or emotional events. Fibromyalgia can sometimes be triggered by a physical event, such as a car accident. Prolonged psychological stress can also trigger the condition.
Risk factors for fibromyalgia include:
- Your sex. Fibro pain symptoms are diagnosed more often in women than in men.
- Family history. You may be more likely to develop fibromyalgia if a parent or brother also has the disease.
- Other disorders. If you have osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus, you may be more likely to develop fibromyalgia.
Pain, fatigue and poor sleep quality associated with fibromyalgia can interfere with your ability to operate at home or at work. The frustration of dealing with an often-misunderstood condition can also lead to depression and health-related anxiety.
Fibromyalgia – Questions and Answers
- What is fibromyalgia?
- What are the signs and symptoms?
- What are the risk factors?
- How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?
- How is fibromyalgia treated?
- What are the complications?
- How can I improve my quality of life?
Fibromyalgia (fi•bro•mi•al•gi•a) is a condition that causes pain throughout the body (also known as generalized pain), sleep problems, fatigue, and often emotional and mental distress. People with fibro pain symptoms may be more susceptible to pain than people without fibromyalgia. This is called the abnormal treatment of pain perception. Fibromyalgia affects about 4 million American adults or about 2% of the adult population. The cause of fibromyalgia is not known, but it can be treated and managed effectively.
What are the signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia?
The most common symptoms of fibromyalgia are
- Pain and stiffness all over the body
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Depression and anxiety
- Sleep problems
- Problems with thinking, memory, and concentration
- Headaches, including migraines
Other symptoms may include:
- Tingling or numbness in hands and feet
- Pain in the face or jaw, including disorders of the jaw known as a temporomandibular joint syndrome (also known as TMJ)
- Digestive problems, such as abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and even irritable bowel syndrome (also known as IBS)
What are the risk factors for fibromyalgia?
Known risk factors include:
- Age. Fibromyalgia can affect people of all ages, including children. However, most people are diagnosed during middle age and you are more likely to have fibromyalgia as you get older.
- Lupus or Rheumatoid Arthritis. If you have lupus or rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you are more likely to develop fibromyalgia.
Some other factors have been weakly associated with the onset of fibromyalgia, but more research is needed to see if they are real. These possible risk factors include:
- Sex. Women are twice as likely to have fibromyalgia as men.
- Stressful or traumatic events, such as car accidents, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Repetitive injuries. Injury from repetitive stress on a joint, such as frequent knee bending.
- Illness (such as viral infections)
- Family history
Fibromyalgia Multiple Symptoms
One of the defining attributes of fibromyalgia and myofascial pain is the effect on mobility about the body in time periods of a few hours to days at a time. This is often the result of severely tender “areas” of the fibro body and multiple trigger points which lie in various layers along the fascia and muscle groups.
- costochondritis (pain in chest and ribs)
- restless leg syndrome
- shoulder pain
- Nervous system in fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia symptoms are most debilitating when they affect the brain, head, or face. This is due to the close proximity within all of our senses and the effect on them.
Moreover, the fibromyalgia symptoms that affect this area are quite diverse, creating emotional effects; sleep disturbance; hyper sensitivity to lights, noise, and chemical toxins; and all are accompanied by pain ranging from acute and throbbing to incessant dull ache. Mitigating these varied symptoms is just as varied.
- Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis)
GI issues on the fibromyalgia symptoms list are often exacerbated by a common co-condition, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which has more serious GI tract problems than fibro alone.
However, symptom relief for either pretty much follows the same protocol. Working as a colon therapist for many years, I have utilized some effective, non-invasive remedies to ease symptoms of IBS, constipation and spastic colon.
A couple of the items on the fibromyalgia symptoms list in this category deserve a tip. I personally don’t have much problem with heat, but cold is a different matter. My greatest “cold” issues usually occur in the spring or fall when weather fronts often move thru accompanied by a drop-in temperature. Being better prepared for weather change is essential with fibromyalgia.
Also, the “sensitive to touch” symptom is quite different from the allodynia symptom in which any touch is intolerable. TRPs and the fascia are usually involved in simple “sensitive to touch”. In this case manipulation can be done and some relief can be realized.
- Heart Palpitations/pain around chest
- Blood vessels and fibromyalgia
- underactive thyroid
- adrenal stress
In this category of the fibromyalgia symptoms list I just want to explain why MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) is listed here as well as in the above category of “Brain/Head/Face. I’ve had severe MCS since a young age, and it can be very debilitating. With MCS, it’s all about avoiding exposures.
But, when exposed, the effects in the Head area are really bad and come on quickly; but that’s not the end of the story because MCS is like the worst “endocrine disrupter” really, and associated symptoms can last for days. So, you are probably saying to yourself ” but I don’t have MCS”. Well, hear me out…
Sure, I’m hyper-sensitive to all manner of toxins; but in my years of working with fibro sufferers, I’m convinced that most people with fibromyalgia also react to those same toxins. In a twisted kind of way I’m lucky because my reactions are so “cause and effect” obvious.
When I am exposed, I know it immediately; and, I know my fibro is going to flare. It always does. I’m also convinced that your fibro flares when you are exposed to those same toxins, but you probably don’t make the association in your mind because it’s not as evident as with me.
Consequently, I believe that many fibro sufferer’s fibromyalgia symptoms are exacerbated by the toxins in our everyday lives such as dryer sheets, perfume, deodorant, formaldehyde in our carpet and furniture, and many other sources. You can do something to protect yourself, I have. It is important that we create a safe haven in our own homes. Read more about this on the Environmental Toxins page by clicking on the multiple chemical sensitivity link in the folowing fibromyalgia symptoms list.
Although not listed here, you can also use the SITEMAP to access the articles on “Leaky Gut” and “Underactive Thyroid” (often part of lowered immune symptoms) There are also viral co-conditions such as Epstein Barr, anaplasma and mycoplasma that can exacerbate symptoms within fibromyalgia when these viruses are found through blood testing.
- Shoulder/clavicle pain
- Myofascial pain treatments
- Aging more gracefully with fibromyalgia
How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?
Doctors usually diagnose fibromyalgia using the patient’s history, physical examination, X-rays, and blood work.
Fibromyalgia can be treated and managed effectively with medication and self-management strategies. You can learn more about self-management strategies in the next section entitled How can I improve my quality of life?
Fibromyalgia should be treated by a doctor or team of health professionals specializing in the treatment of fibromyalgia and other types of arthritis, called rheumatologists. Doctors usually treat fibromyalgia with a combination of treatments, which may include:
- Medications, including prescription drugs and over-the-counter pain relievers
- Aerobic exercise and muscle-strengthening exercise
- Patient education classes, usually in primary care or community settings
- Stress management techniques such as meditation, yoga, and massage
- Good sleep habits to improve the quality of sleep
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to treat the underlying depression. CBT is a type of talk therapy meant to change the way people act or think
In addition to medical treatment, people can manage their fibromyalgia with the self-management strategies described below, which have been shown to reduce pain and disability, so they can perform important activities for themselves.
What are the complications of fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia can cause pain, disability, and a lower quality of life. US adults with fibromyalgia may have complications such as:
- More hospitalizations. If you have fibromyalgia you are twice as likely to be hospitalized as someone without fibromyalgia.
- Lower quality of life. Women with fibromyalgia may experience a lower quality of life.
- Higher rates of major depression. Adults with fibromyalgia are more than 3 times more likely to have major depression than adults without fibromyalgia. Screening and treatment for depression are extremely important.
- Higher death rates from suicide and injuries. Death rates from suicide and injuries are higher among fibromyalgia patients, but overall mortality among adults with fibromyalgia is similar to the general population.
- Higher rates of other rheumatic conditions. Fibromyalgia often co-occurs with other types of arthritis such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and ankylosing spondylitis.
- Get physically active. Experts recommend that adults be moderately physically active for 150 minutes a week. Walk, swim or bike 30 minutes a day for five days a week. These 30 minutes can be divided into three separate ten-minute sessions during the day. Regular physical activity can also reduce the risk of developing other chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Learn more about physical activity for arthritis. You can exercise alone or participate in a fitness program recommended by CDC.
- Go to recommended physical activity programs. Those who are concerned about how to exercise safely can participate in physical activity programs that have proven to be effective in reducing arthritis pain and disability and improving mood and ability to move. Courses are held in local Ys, parks, and community centers. These courses can help you feel better. Learn more about CDC recommended physical activity programs.
- Join a self-management education class, that helps people with arthritis or other conditions, including fibromyalgia, have more confidence in how to control their symptoms, live well and understand how the disease affects their lives. Learn more about CDC’s recommended self-management programs.
Fibro Women Blogs
Chronic Woman Blogs
Chronic Illness Blogs
Official Fibromyalgia Blogs