Because there are so many different symptoms of fibromyalgia and because they are quite general symptoms that could have any number of causes, it can be difficult to get a diagnosis. Some people don’t even “believe in” fibromyalgia. It can occur on its own or can be triggered by other conditions such as ME and hypermobility syndromes, but here are some of the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia.
1. Widespread Pain
The most common of all the symptoms of fibromyalgia is widespread pain. This is often felt throughout the entire body, although it may be worse in a particular area, such as the neck or the back. It can be aching, stabbing or burning pain.
People with fibromyalgia usually suffer from a level of tiredness that can’t otherwise be explained. Someone with fibromyalgia may feel sleepy regardless of getting enough sleep. They may need regular naps and suffer fatigue in particular, or all, muscles. It can be so severe that sufferers require a carer to help them complete simple everyday tasks such as getting dressed and washing.
The body can be oversensitive to touch, and even a light touch on tender points can cause pain. Fibromyalgia sufferers are often aware of this when they need to scratch an itch but can’t because it hurts to touch.
Another common symptom of fibromyalgia is stiffness. This may be first thing in the morning, or become a problem if you’ve been stood or sat in the same position for a long time, so sufferers may fidget a great deal and need to get up and move around frequently.
Headaches are more common in people whose fibromyalgia severely affects their neck and shoulders. Headaches can be anything from a mild inconvenience to a severe migraine that causes nausea and vomiting.
6. Lack of Quality Sleep
This fibromyalgia symptom is very inconvenient, given that fibromyalgia sufferers generally need more sleep than most people anyway. The condition can prevent quality restorative sleep so you don’t feel rested after 8 hours sleep, or prevent you falling asleep, perhaps through pain or through restless leg syndrome, which is more common in fibromyalgia sufferers.
“Fibro-fog” refers to the cognitive problems caused by the condition, and it’s something that non-sufferers would struggle to really comprehend. It’s a sensation of just not being able to think straight at all, or feeling like your brain is working really slowly. It can affect memory and ability to learn, concentration and even your speech.
8. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is not uncommon but it’s much more likely to occur in people with fibromyalgia. Symptoms of IBS include pain and bloating, diarrhoea and constipation.
9. Dizziness and Clumsiness
Feeling dizzy is a symptom of fibromyalgia that many sufferers deal with at least some of the time. It can be severe enough to make the room spin around and some people may faint occasionally. It’s tied into the clumsiness that can be seen in many people with fibromyalgia. Often sufferers just seem less coordinated than other people.
Fibromyalgia is a condition that isn’t very well understood, so more research is needed so that sufferers can access better treatment. Hopefully these symptoms of fibromyalgia will help someone to recognise the condition in themself or someone else. Do you suffer from fibromyalgia or know anybody that does?