10 Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

By nigel
Reviewed: Dr. Gromatzky
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Fibromyalgia is a difficult condition that many people have to deal with. It causes pain throughout the entire musculoskeletal system and is also known to cause mental problems such as issues with memory and maintaining a stable mood. By enhancing the body’s sensitivity to pain, fibromyalgia can make someone feel discomfort or pain when they wouldn’t before.

Unfortunately, researchers have not identified exactly what causes fibromyalgia or how to cure it. This can make it very unpleasant and stressful trying to manage the symptoms associated with this condition. What is known, however, is that symptoms of fibromyalgia often begin after something physically traumatic. This can mean things like physical violence, a surgery, or a serious infection. Fibromyalgia can also occur as a response to extreme stress. Some people simply develop the condition as they grow older with no specific cause.

Women are much more likely to get the condition than men. There are a number of medications that can help to ease the symptoms of fibromyalgia but there is no known way to actually cure the problem. Physical therapy and natural remedies such as exercise, massage therapy, acupuncture, and yoga can all be very useful for helping to reduce the symptoms associated with the problem.

Symptom #1: Widespread Pain

The pain associated with fibromyalgia can be widespread. This is because fibromyalgia affects the body’s perception of pain by causing an issue that is referred to as central sensitization. This means that you will become more reactive and sensitive to sensations that normally wouldn’t be uncomfortable.

In serious cases, you might want to get some pain medication. However, it’s generally recommended to try other treatments first. Try acupuncture, take some light exercise, or use some herbal remedies before seeking out pain medications.


Symptom #2: Fatigue

Chronic fatigue is another symptom that is quite common among people with fibromyalgia. People with the condition often find that they are unable to feel rested even after getting a good night’s sleep.

Some researchers suggest that people may experience fatigue as a result of constantly dealing with pain. Others think that the pain may be caused by the fatigue and the person’s inability to rest properly. Regardless of the cause, it’s well-established that fatigue often comes along with fibromyalgia.

Symptom #3: Sleep Problems

There are a number of sleep-related issues that can affect someone who is suffering from fibromyalgia. Some people find that they wake up frequently during the night, others find that they simply aren’t able to fall asleep.

The majority of patients report some sort of sleep-related disturbances. These issues can be caused by the pain and discomfort associated with the condition or something more biological in nature. A number of treatments, such as biofeedback and imagery therapy, can be useful in helping to restore a restful sleep schedule.


Symptom #4: Migraines

Another symptom that is commonly associated with fibromyalgia is headaches. These headaches often become so severe that they can be considered migraines.

Researchers aren’t sure exactly what causes the migraines, either. Some believe that it is merely a factor of the widespread pain that fibromyalgia can cause. In this case, some simple over-the-counter pain medication is often enough to help ease the headaches.

Symptom #5: Cognitive Problems

Another set of symptoms that can affect people with fibromyalgia affect the brain. Many people experience what’s referred to as brain fog, which is a set of symptoms that result in a general slowing down of cognitive processing. It can be harder for people with fibromyalgia to remember things or form logical thought processes.

There are observable differences in the brain activity of patients with fibromyalgia compared to those who don’t have it. People without fibromyalgia have more metabolic activity.


Symptom #6: Depression

There are a number of patients who have reported experiencing depression as a result of fibromyalgia. This is a fairly common symptom among patients who have chronic, painful conditions.

One of the reasons for this is that there is a link between the neurotransmitters responsible for the condition. The chemicals in the brain that are responsible for regulating pain are often also involved in the regulation of mood and happiness. When these chemicals are disturbed, it can lead to depression.

Symptom #7: Anxiety

Another problem commonly attributed to fibromyalgia is anxiety. Part of this is due to the same neurotransmitter link that we mentioned earlier. Many of the neurotransmitters responsible for inhibiting the excitatory neurotransmitters (which means that they, in essence, relax the brain and body) are also involved with pain. When they are upset, the brain becomes more excited, which can lead to anxiety.

People may also simply become anxious if they’re worried about having their pain escalate at some point during the day. Therapy can be very useful for helping people manage their anxiety.


Symptom #8: Irritable Bowel Syndrome

People with fibromyalgia are often more likely to develop irritable bowel syndrome. This means that they will frequently experience nausea or an upset stomach, and they will likely need to go to the bathroom more often.

In serious cases, the urge to go to the bathroom can be so immediate that it affects a person’s ability to remain present during meetings or social engagements.

Symptom #9: Joint Problems

Fibromyalgia is known to cause a number of symptoms that affect the joints. This can cause pain, swelling, and a reduce of mobility in the joints affected. Some doctors have actually confused fibromyalgia with rheumatoid arthritis because the symptoms can be so similar. Both conditions are known to cause fatigue and to make it difficult or painful to use the joints.

In some cases, using anti-inflammatory herbs and medication can help to reverse the symptoms of joint pain. Physical therapy and yoga can also be immensely useful for helping to restore strength to disturbed joints.

Symptom #10: Painful Menstrual Periods

Fibromyalgia is known to cause widespread pain by enhancing the body’s sensitivity for pain.

Unfortunately for women, this means that it can also accentuate the pain that is already felt during the menstrual cycle. Women who are experiencing fibromyalgia are often more likely to experience increased cramping and physical discomfort during their monthly period.


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