THE SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS OF FYBROMYALGIA
Fybromyalgia (FMS) has been around for centuries but it was only in the 1970s that is was formally named and diagnosed. Back then, it was considered a condition that was all in the mind. Now, through technology, people are now becoming more familiar with common signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia and how it can be treated.
Those who are afflicted with fybromyalgia describe the pain as a dull ache that constantly radiates from the muscles. Diagnostic criteria stipulates that widespread pain, which is pain felt on both sides of the body as well as above and below the waist, as being one of the telltale signs of fibromyalgia. In addition, there are certain spots called tender points that become more painful when pressure is applied. The locations of these tender points are:
- The back of the head
- The top of the shoulders
- Between the shoulder blades
- The upper chest
- The sides on the hips
- The outer elbows
- The front of the neck
- The inner knee
- The top of the hips
The tender points vary from person to person and will come and go from time to time.
Trouble sleeping is another common symptom of fybromyalgia. Those who have this syndrome have sleep disturbances, such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome. To most people, a good night’s sleep consists of 7-9 hours of sleep, but to people with fibromyalgia, a good night’s sleep may consist of 10-12 hours of sleep because of the muscle pain and tenderness. Some studies have suggested that sleep disturbances may even increase the risk of developing fibromyalgia in women.
Constant fatigue is another symptom of this syndrome. Now this is not your normal tiredness after a long hard day of work but a constant feeling of tiredness that drains you from any energy you may have had. And the kicker for this is the fact that many times a patient will wake up from a night’s sleep feeling like this.
One of the most taletell signs of fybromyalgia is sensory sensitivity which includes sensitivity to the following:
- Temperature changes
- Pressure changes
Those with fibromyalgia can also experience vision problems such as a rapid decline in vision or difficulty driving at night. This sensory sensitivity is an overall part of the neurological and cognitive issues that those with fibromyalgia can have. According to one study, those with FMS display a greater dysfunction in certain cranial nerves than those without the condition. Also, those with fibromyalgia were more likely to have sensory abnormalities and neurological symptoms such as photophobia, tingling arms and legs, and weakness.
PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS AND EMOTIONAL SIGNS
There are some physical signs that indicate FMS. These physical signs include:
- Temporary hair loss
- Mottled skin
- Pronounced ridges on the nails
- Nails that curve under
Those with fibromyalgia will also scar or bruise easily and may be more prone to developing ingrown hairs, split cuticle and non-cancerous tumors known as lipomas.
On the other side of the spectrum are the emotions that you can’t see. People who have fibromyalgia tend to be very emotional. They may cry a lot or cry easily, experience frequent panic attacks, or suffer from anxiety or depression.
OTHER COMMON SYMPTOMS
Internally, many people with fibromyalgia also experience digestive, abdominal and reproductive issues such as:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Menstrual problems or PMS
- Frequent urination
It is also common for those with this syndrome to experience heart-related symptoms such as an irregular heartbeat and pain that feels like a heart attack.
ARE MY SYMPTOMS REALLY FYBROMYALGIA?
Even though the list seems like a long one, keep in mind that these symptoms come and go and not everyone will experience the same ones. Some people may experience emotional, digestive or sleeping issues while others may not.
As crazy as this may seem, some people have all or most of the symptoms and not have fybromyalgia. There are many other diseases that mimic FMS. Then there are those whose symptoms come and go but they have the syndrome.
However, knowledge is one of the best tools to fight this syndrome. When you educate yourself on the subject, you are helping yourself learn how to fight the disease. Knowing the symptoms is important. Your doctor will help with the diagnosis and together, you can find the best treatments for your particular situation.