Fibromyalgia symptoms can be exhausting. It’s not a simple one set of symptoms. It can be multiple symptoms, which can present differently, and even cause misdiagnosis. But here are the most common symptoms patients can experience:
Typically the pain you feel will be all over, or when your pressure points make direct contact. This won’t be joint pain – but musculoskeletal pain. I describe mine as if I worked out to hard the day before – but it’s always there (at least it was before my diagnosis). My symptoms started with a simple, but painful, tension headache. The headache would start at the back of my skull and slink down into my shoulders.
While my doctors were attentive, this pain simply refused to go away. Boom. It felt like someone had taken a baseball bat to the back of my head, but instead of passing out, I got to feel the pain over and over again. Unfortunately, these headaches went on for weeks. I was finally put on some heavy duty pain meds, and put out on disability because I couldn’t function. Pretty much my life was eat, take meds, nap, and repeat all over again.
Fibromyalgia pain has been described in a variety of ways, such as burning, aching, stiffness or soreness. It often varies according to the time of day, activity level, weather, sleep patterns and stress. As you can see, there isn’t ONE way to describe the pain, or one specific type of pain. For a refresher, here are the tender points again:
Besides pain, this symptom is one of the main Fibromyalgia symptoms. occurs in over 75% of patients. And it’s not just the “I didn’t get enough sleep” kind of tired. It’s a chronic, non-restorative, fighting off the flu type feeling. Oftentimes, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. CFS has it’s own set of guidelines for diagnosis, and you can find them here. Fortunately, CFS can be manageable, as can Fibromyalgia. I underwent a sleep study before my diagnosis, as I was chronically fatigued. Fibro differs from CFS in that the pain is what is keeping you awake most of the time. I was always constantly tired because I had trouble falling into restorative sleep stages. Now I have a fairly good balance of medications, some which cause drowsiness, which help keep me asleep longer so I can get a more restful sleep.
Nervous System Issues
Depression is a major issue with Fibromyalgia, although only about 25% are treated as clinically depressed. Obviously, dealing with chronic pain and fatigue can be depressing. Mood changes can occur, and often do. Memory loss (or what we call Fibro Fog) is something very common with your Fibro diagnosis. It can be short term memory loss, confusion, difficulty concentrating, and sometimes long term memory loss. Don’t worry, these memory changes can come and go, and some days will be better than others. So far research hasn’t show that the changes are progressive, so it won’t get worse as you age, like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
As for the CNS, Fibromyalgia is not a nervous system disorder. It is not like Multiple Sclerosis or ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) where symptoms will worsen as you get older or as time goes on. While you will have flares from time or time, or certain times of the year, it is not a disease that generally progresses with time and causes more nervous system issues.
You have an inflammatory disease which means… you are inflamed. You’re swollen, and just like with injuries, inflammation brings heat. Your skin may change colors as you go through your diagnosis. For example, I know when I have high inflammation, my skin is really flushed, even when it’s cold outside. Sometimes you may notice skin texture changes as well. Many people notice the weather has an effect on your Fibromyalgia as well, and may cause symptoms to go away or come back with revenge. Mainly extreme heat and extreme cold tend to trigger symptoms. For me personally, extreme heat causes flare ups. I do beautifully in cold weather, and have been known to travel in the wintertime ore often to colder places as I seem to do well there.
Other Fibromyalgia symptoms can include muscle cramping, dizziness, tingling in the arms, legs, hands, and feet, as well as abdominal and gastrointestinal issues. Please always consult with a physician first to rule out other disorders and diseases.
Do you have all of these symptoms, and are sick and tired of feeling sick and tired? Check out my article on some alternative fibro treatments to try first. If you need some extra help, I’m here for you. Let’s chat – you can book your FREE autoimmune health coaching consultation here.