There is a lot more to fibromyalgia than the regular description of fatigue, pain and fibro-fog. In fact there are so many symptoms that separate studies have been done on them. Research shows about 60 different or, in some ways, similar symptoms that people may have with fibromyalgia. Knowing these symptoms will only aid the sufferer to track down and identify the possible triggers of flare ups and might help in the diagnosing of the disease or other conditions that hitch along for the ride. Self-diagnosing is not recommended here but the insight as to what might be can be relieving and comforting as well as informative.
Pain is the most prevalent of all the symptoms and it can range from mild to severe. Depending on what type of pain you have could determine how much activity can be incorporated in one’s life. The pain generally is localized in areas called trigger or pressure points. The areas are in the front and back of the neck, the elbows and knees, the hips and shoulders as well as the lower back near the buttocks. Found in 18 pairs on both sides of the body, patients can be diagnosed with fibromyalgia if they have pain in 11 of the 18 pairs for about 3 months consecutively.
Morning stiffness is another symptom related to muscle and tissue symptoms. This happens mostly in the morning when getting up from bed and soon dissipates as the day progresses. Arthritis is often diagnosed along with fibromyalgia when it could be the other way around too. Twitching muscles are also symptomatic of fibromyalgia. Please note that swelling is sometimes included but is related more into inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis than fibromyalgia which is not known for inflammation involvement.
Sleep And Fibromyalgia
Sleep related symptoms come in a variety of ways. First there are the moments you start falling asleep only to wake suddenly as if you are falling off something. It’s pretty wild. Then there is the inability to stay asleep or to get to sleep. Insomnia plagues a lot of people and those with fibromyalgia have the additional pain that tends to keep them awake. You never get the restorative sleep needed for normal living.
Then there is the digestive or abdominal symptoms linked with fibromyalgia. This could really be a drag. Consider irritable bowel syndrome. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. Abdominal cramps, pelvic pain, bloating and nausea go hand in hand here. An additional symptom is urinary frequency. Some of these symptoms could be from an overlapping disorder too, and please keep in mind that not all fibromyalgia patients suffer all these symptoms at the same time.
Neurological symptoms involve cognitive problems. This describes a wide range of signs for fibromyalgia as well as other ailments. I’m sure you have heard the term “fibro-fog”, well that’s a general way of explaining what is actually occurring. Some individuals have trouble coordinating and balancing their steps or have trouble recognizing where they are or the direction of where they are going. Others just stare into space like their mind is gone or daydreaming without a thought of what’s happening around them. The very act of concentration is numbed and sometimes confusion sets in which can lead to depression. Memory loss or short-term memory impairment can be expected along with difficulties in speech. I know it sounds like the symptoms are stroke-like but symptoms can mimic or overlap other ailments. People who suffer fibromyalgia also experience headaches and sometimes they are classified in the migraine magnitude. This could also affect your way of thinking or problem solving abilities.
Pain can have an overwhelming effect on a person and fibromyalgia is all about pain. This brings us to the emotional symptoms involved with fibromyalgia. Many people feel alone in their suffering, when in reality, there are millions of people worldwide that suffer fibromyalgia. The aloneness produces depression along with anxiety. Mood swings, panic attacks and irritability with the tendency to cry a lot has an active effect on victims of fibromyalgia.
Since fibromyalgia is noted for amplifying the pain signals, some women have noticed that with the onset of menstruation, flare ups of the pressure points become intensified. Some women even say that menopause makes their fibromyalgia worse. The connection is still being investigated, however, because some researchers have found these might be contributing factors for women with fibromyalgia who had early menopause or a hysterectomy.
There are more studies on fibromyalgia than you can shake a stick. It is so complex and I really hope that a cure is found soon. So many people would benefit from it. Until then seek treatment from a knowledgeable doctor and try to avoid triggers for this disorder. It might ease your pain to know that you are not alone.