Fibromyalgia Symptoms


Common Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition that is experienced by an estimated 5 million American adults. Over 75 percent of people with this disease are female. Although the primary symptoms of this ailment are chronic, unrelenting fatigue and widespread muscle pain, there are many other symptoms that fibromyalgia sufferers may also experience.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Along with crushing exhaustion and widespread pain throughout the body, people with fibromyalgia may also experience the following symptoms:

  • Muscle spasms or tightness
  • Insomnia or unrefreshing sleep
  • Stiffness and difficulty moving after awakening
  • Cognitive dysfunction, such as forgetfulness and problems concentrating
  • Digestive problems, such as bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation and stomach pain
  • Migraines and other headaches
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty exercising
  • Feelings of inflammation in the hands and feet
  • Urinary problems, such as a hyperactive bladder
  • Feelings of numbness in the face, arms, hands, legs or feet

Fibromyalgia commonly co-occurs with many other disorders that can mimic or intensify its painful and life-disputing symptoms. Diseases that are commonly present in people with fibromyalgia include:

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Crohn’s disease

Other risk factors include having a family member diagnosed with fibromyalgia, having a gluten intolerance or being a post-menopausal woman.

What Causes Fibromyalgia?

Despite the work of many intrepid researchers who have studied this chronic pain condition, there is as of yet no clear causal factor that can be pinpointed as the origin of fibromyalgia. However, some physicians hypothesize that the following may somehow be the impetus for developing the symptoms of this disease:

  • Experiencing physical trauma, such as a car accident
  • Surviving abuse
  • Serious illnesses
  • Certain viruses, such as the Epstein-Barr virus

How is Fibromyalgia Diagnosed?

There are no clinical markers on which to predicate a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Thus, a doctor must take seriously the self-reported symptoms from a patient. A doctor will also conduct a tender point examination, which tests for pain in numerous trigger point areas that include the:

  • Shoulder
  • Chest
  • Knee
  • Hip
  • Elbow

Rheumatologists, doctors who specialize in the treatment of arthritis and other soft tissue disorders, are the experts in fibromyalgia treatment. If you’ve suffered from these symptoms for more than 3 months, you may have fibromyalgia and should schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.