Fibromyalgia is a prevalent chronic syndrome that causes extensive pain in the body. The pain originates from an error in the manner in which the nervous system interprets pain signals. In addition to pain, other symptoms of this condition include fatigue, mental fog and depression.
Doctors may not diagnose you with Fibromyalgia immediately, as these symptoms may be a sign of another health condition. Fibromyalgia is considered a diagnosis of exclusion and it often takes about five years from initial symptom presentation to be diagnosed with this condition.
Understanding the type and exact location of your pain, and the different kinds of symptoms you’re experiencing are important factors in helping your doctor make an accurate diagnosis. The earlier you get diagnosed, the earlier you can start an effective treatment plan to manage your symptoms.
Continue reading to discover seven common fibromyalgia symptoms that you should know about.
Pain and Tenderness
Pain is certainly the most predominant symptom of this chronic syndrome. It can feel similar to tendonitis or osteoarthritis, but the pain spreads throughout the body. This widespread pain is often the reason why patients seek medical attention.
This pain may express itself in different ways in different people. It can be a dull, piercing, burning or aching sensation. You may feel it in or around your joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles. For some, the pain is constant, while for others it moves around the body or comes and goes.
Morning stiffness in the joints and muscles of the legs, arms and back that leaves you needing to stretch for a few minutes before you begin your day is often a symptom of fibromyalgia.
Burning and Tingling Sensations in Your Extremities
While there is no explanation for the numbness, throbbing and tingling associated with fibromyalgia, many patients complain of these sensations.
They occur randomly and are called paresthesia. They may be persistent or they may come and go. These sensations can be disturbing when you get out of bed because they come together with morning stiffness. However, they rarely disrupt your ability to handle activities of daily life.
Experiencing the urge to pass urine too many times, feeling pain when you do, or having bladder leaks can occur when you have this chronic syndrome.
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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Around two-thirds of individuals with fibromyalgia report symptoms of IBS including severe belly pain, bloating, gas, nausea, constipation and/or diarrhea.
Besides IBS, individuals may also develop gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and acid reflux.
Migraine or Tension Headaches
These types of headaches are relatively common in fibromyalgia patients. Tight neck muscles and pain in the upper back and neck can cause these headaches.
Tender points around the back, head and neck can also cause them. Over time, migraine and tension headaches can become incapacitating and can significantly disrupt activities of daily living.
Painful Menstrual Cramps
It’s common for women with fibromyalgia to experience abnormally painful menstrual cramps, usually for years. This is why menstruation takes a toll on women with fibromyalgia compared to those with other chronic conditions.
This syndrome normally attacks the lower legs and feet. While it may be painful, most of the time it feels like you need to adjust the position of your legs in an attempt to relax and make them comfortable. It’s usually stressful at night since it can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.
Pain is the most predominant, and sometimes the most bothersome, symptom of fibromyalgia. Other common symptoms, including morning stiffness, fatigue and depression, can also have a significant negative impact on your life.
It’s important to keep track of your symptoms and discuss them with your doctor so they can accurately diagnosis this condition and develop an effective treatment plan to alleviate your symptoms and maintain your quality of life.