More On Symptoms
There is a huge list of symptoms that can be attributed to fibromyalgia. It is very important that other possible causes are ruled out. The number of, and severity of the rest of the symptoms, seems to be different for every person. They can also vary from day to day, even minute to minute. You could be walking along limping from a severe pain in your left leg for a few minutes, that slowly wears off, only to have a worse pain in your other leg next time you start walking.
The main symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
Chronic widespread pain that is often described as 'stabbing', 'shooting', 'intense aching', 'deep muscle aching' and the like. The pain seems to be 'around the joints' rather than in them, and also like the pain from a severe cramp, but without the actual cramping of the muscle. Some also describe it as being like muscle burn after very intense exercise, or as if they have severe flu aches and pains. If you asked ten people to describe it, they would most likely come up with different responses, but if you put them together they would all agree with each other as well.
The pain from fibromyalgia is profound, chronic, and widespread. The severity of that pain is often worse in the morning. It also comes and goes from different parts of the body with no apparent rhyme or reason. One minute you could have a dull ache in your left calf, the next you could be limping because of an intense cramp-like pain in the other leg.
The pain seems to get worse if you keep still, but also if you move too much.
All Consuming Fatigue. It doesn’t seem to matter how much sleep you get, it never seems to be enough. The small amount of energy that you have is used up far too quickly, leaving you so tired that at times you can’t even get to sleep. You can be too tired to read to watch television, let alone do anything constructive. It can be an all-consuming, bone weariness that leaves you unable to talk.
Sleep Disturbances are another major symptom. It can be incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Once you do, it is difficult to reach that deep sleep where your body needs to be to replenish itself. You keep waking up all night as well. Sleep can also be affected by pain, depression, distracting thoughts, restless legs, cramps etc.
Cognitive Dysfunction often referred to as ‘brain fog’ or ‘fibro fog’. Causes difficulties with short term memory and remembering new things, concentration, word recall, and disorientation. Distraction can be an issue, especially when doing things like driving. Can be compounded by the effects of medication
Morning Stiffness. Severe pain and apparent muscle stiffness upon waking. This can make it very hard to get out of bed. It usually dissipates with movement, but can return with lack of motion at other times.
- Cramping and Muscle Spasms are common. You may find that you get cramps in places where you have never had them before, and for no apparent reason. Fine muscle spasms are also common and can be quite disconcerting. They can also make your muscles feel very tired, as if you have done a lot of exercise. Exercise and alcohol can make cramps and spasm worse. People often take magnesium supplements and other anti-cramp treatments.
Restless Leg Syndrome is a neurological illness that causes an irresistible urge to move your body to stop the uncomfortable and odd sensations and pain that it causes. It usually affects the legs, but can also affect the arms and torso. MORE…
Digestive problems including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and irritable bladder syndrome can be quite severe. Constipation, diarrhoea, frequency of needing to go etc can make it hard to leave your home at times. Stomach upsets can be frequent. Sensitivities to foods and drink are also common.
Skin sensations, like burning, sunburn, iced water, swollen feeling and numbness that come and go and seem to move around can vary a lot from patient to patient. Some describe feelings like when a local anaesthetic is wearing off, or the swelling from a bee sting. The severity of the sensations is often related to how tired you are, or how much exercise you have just done.
Balance Problems and distance judgement are symptoms that are often missed. They can go unnoticed, or just be attributed to other things. It is common for fibro patients to bump into things, knock things over, back the car into things, miss things when reaching for them and so on. General loss of balance and a ‘wobbly’ feeling are also common.
- Sensitivities to just about everything are common as well. Sensitivities to:
- Touch - It can feel ‘uncomfortable’ to be touched. Tickling can be completely unbearable.
- Heat - sweats and feelings of breathlessness
- Cold - increases in pain and difficulty getting warm
- Changes in the weather - pain increases
- Side effects from meds - more susceptible to side effects, and side effects can be more severe. Also, a med that works well for one person can make another very ill.
- Foods - Common foods that people become especially sensitive to include chilli, dairy, gluten and fatty foods.
- Light - Bright or glary light can be an issue. So can seeing in low light levels.
- Sound - Loud sound can cause tinnitus. It can also be very difficult to separate sounds, like when talking to someone in a noisy room.
- Taste - Some tastes can appear stronger than others, and this can vary.
- Smell - sense of smell can be diminished, but it can also be more sensitive. Can cause nausea and headaches.
- … the list goes on and on.
It is VERY important that symptoms and other illnesses that you have, on top of fibromyalgia, and dealt with or managed. Even the common cold can have a big impact on how you are feeling and exacerbate your fibro symptoms. Something like diabetes can completely wipe you out if not managed. Similarly, the pain from injuries like muscle strains can cause a great deal of pain.
Depression and stress need to be managed as well. They are both major triggers for fibromyalgia.
See the Symptom Overlap page for more information here
THE RIDICULOUSLY LONG LIST OF FIBRO SYMPTOMS
We have trawled the internet, and with additions from our members, have put together this list.
It seems that every possible symptom could be attributed to fibromyalgia. This list can be a bit scary. It is importatnt that you don't just attribute new symptoms to fibromyalgia. You should always let your doctor know about them.
You can download it HERE