Fibromyalgia Signs & Symptoms

Fibromyalgia is a disorder defined by extensive musculoskeletal pain associated with fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues. Over time, it increases painful sensations by impacting how the brain and spinal cord process painful and painless signals.

You begin to experience symptoms after an event like surgery, infection, or psychological stress. And sometimes, these symptoms build up over time without anything triggering them.

Women are more vulnerable to developing fibromyalgia than men. Many people with fibromyalgia also have comorbid conditions like tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, anxiety, and depression.

There’s no record of any cure for fibromyalgia, but there are several medications that can keep the symptoms under control. 

Other activities like relaxation, exercise, and overall stress reduction also help to control symptoms. Fibromyalgia has different symptoms peculiar to each person; however, the main symptom is widespread pain.

There may be times when your symptoms improve or deteriorate, and these depend on certain factors like:

  • Your stress levels
  • Changes in the weather
  • How physically energetic you are

If you suspect that you might have fibromyalgia, visit your doctor. There are available treatments to alleviate the symptoms, although it’s not sure that these symptoms will disappear completely. 

Below are the main symptoms of fibromyalgia:

  • Widespread Pain

One of the ways to confirm that you have fibromyalgia is the widespread pain symptom. This symptom can sometimes affect the whole body, but it affects specific areas like your neck and back. The pain usually seems to be unending, and sometimes, it could get worse than other times. You may experience severe pain like:

  • An ache
  • A burning sensation
  • A sharp, stabbing pain

Extreme Sensitivity

Fibromyalgia can cause you to be very susceptible to pain all over your body, and you’d discover that even the most insignificant touch is painful. If you accidentally hit your toe on a table or stool, the pain may extend for a longer time than usual. The condition can be defined with the following medical terms:

  • Hyperalgesia: When you react to all pain
  • Allodynia: When you feel pain from the slightest touch or something that shouldn’t even arouse pain

You may also react to food, bright lights, and smoke. When exposed to these sensitive triggers, you arouse other fibromyalgia symptoms.

Stiffness

Fibromyalgia can cause stiffness in your body. You’ll experience this stiffness more when you’ve been in the same position without moving for a long while, such as when you’ve been at work sitting at the desk all day.

It can also cause you to experience muscle spasms, or Charley horses, which are conditions in which your muscles contract and gets severely uncomfortable for you to move.

Fatigue

Fibromyalgia can cause you to experience fatigue. This feeling can sometimes be mild, and other times, it can be so extreme, like you’re suffering from the flu.

Extreme fatigue can occur suddenly, and when it happens, you drop everything you’re doing at the moment because you’ll be too tired even to lift a pen.

Poor Sleep Quality

Fibromyalgia can disrupt your sleeping routine. Sometimes when you wake up even after having plenty of sleep, you find that you’re still tired as if you’ve not had any sleep. This is because the fibromyalgia is not allowing you to experience a deep sleep that’ll refresh your system correctly.

Cognitive Problems (Fibro Fog)

Cognitive problems are related to psychiatric processes such as thinking and learning. If you have fibromyalgia, you may discover that:

  • You can hardly remember things or learn new things
  • You can hardly concentrate on something, and you lose focus and attention fast
  • Slowed or confused speech

Migraines/Headaches

If you have fibromyalgia pain in the neck and back, you may also start experiencing incessant headaches. These headaches can be mild or severe, and they could be associated with other symptoms like feeling physically sick.

Fibromyalgia is often associated with other conditions, like:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome
  • Temporomandibular joint disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Postural tachycardia syndrome

Causes of Fibromyalgia 

Repeated nerve stimulation causes a change in the brain and spinal cord in people with fibromyalgia. This change involves an unusual increment in the secretion of some chemicals in the brain that process pain.

More so, the brain’s pain receptors create a memory of the pain and overreact to painful and painless signals. Some factors that contribute to these changes include:

Genetics: Most times, fibromyalgia can be inherited; hence there can be some genetic mutations that make you more vulnerable to developing the condition.

Infections: Some illnesses tend to trigger fibromyalgia.

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