Fibromyalgia, commonly referred to as “fibro,” is a painful condition that increases the body’s sensitivity to sensation, causing pain. Because this condition cannot be diagnosed by traditional tests, it can sometimes be difficult for patients to receive a definitive diagnosis. Doctors rely on the presence of symptoms to determine if the patient may have fibromyalgia.
If you experience pain and tenderness on a regular basis, but can’t explain it, it is possible you may have fibromyalgia. Your doctor can discuss your symptoms with you and investigate other causes or potential treatments for your pain. Here are some of the common symptoms that can indicate fibromyalgia.
1. Pain and Tenderness
The most common and well-known symptom of fibromyalgia is the all-over aches and pains many people experience. It can feel similar to osteoarthritis or tendonitis, but the pain persists all over your body. Commonly, this pain is what first leads patients to seek treatment.
The pain can be expressed in a variety of ways. It can be a dull, sharp, throbbing, or aching. It may be felt in your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and around your joints. For some patients, the pain is consistent, while for others it comes and goes or travels around the body.
Tender points around your joints are also common. The joint itself may not be painful, but you may find that the soft tissue around it is especially sensitive to light or moderate pressure. Often, these tender points are predictable and are under the surface of the skin, rather than areas of deep pain.
Another common symptom is the lingering tiredness and fatigue many patients report. Feeling worn out when you should feel rested can be another sign of fibromyalgia or another health issue. Some patients compare it to feeling as if you have the flu, or working for many hours without enough sleep. You may feel too tired to exercise or do more than a basic workout, or feel like you don’t have the energy to run errands, take care of household chores, or even socialize.
3. Sleep Issues
While you may be able to fall asleep, you may find that your sleep is easily disturbed, or that you wake up still feeling tired. Your interrupted or fitful sleep can increase the fatigue you feel. Often, the pain you’re feeling can wake you up or limit the amount of time you spend in a deep sleep state every night, leaving you feeling worn out.
4. Mood Disorders
Up to half of all fibromyalgia patients are also diagnosed with a mood disorder, such as anxiety or depression. It can be stressful to live with the pain and fatigue that fibromyalgia causes, so it’s no surprise that you may be feeling more anxious or hopeless. You may struggle to feel positive when it’s a challenge to tackle your daily life, and are having a difficult time staying active and connected.
Like the pain, your mood orders may be a part of your fibromyalgia. Depressions and fibromyalgia both share symptoms, such as difficulty concentrating and short-term memory issues. If you struggle to remember where you’ve left your keys or plans you’ve made, it can be a sign of something more than forgetfulness. Often, the mental confusion or forgetfulness is referred to as “fibro fog.”
5. Morning Stiffness
Sometimes it can take us a few minutes to stretch and get moving, but if you regularly feel like you need to “loosen up” just to start your day, there could be an underlying cause. Some creakiness isn’t necessarily something that should worry you, but lasting stiffness that takes more than a few minutes to wear off could be another symptom of fibromyalgia.
6. Swelling or Tingling in Your Extremities
It’s not clear what causes the burning, tingling, or numbness many people with fibromyalgia feel. These sensations are known as paresthesia, and they tend to happen randomly. It is possible for them to last constantly, but most patients tend to experience them for shorter periods of time. The numbness or tingling can also be an issue in the morning, but typically won’t impair daily functioning.
You may also experience restlessness in your legs. It isn’t uncommon for those with fibromyalgia to also have restless leg syndrome and feel the need to move to remain comfortable.
Migraine or tension headaches are fairly common in those with fibromyalgia. Regular headaches may be caused by pain in your neck and upper back, tight neck muscles, and tender points across your back, neck, and head. These can grow to be debilitating, and can greatly interfere with day-to-day living.
8. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
More than two-thirds of those with fibromyalgia also have stomach pain, bloating, gas, and nausea on a regular basis. Constipation or diarrhea can also occur regularly. In addition to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), it isn’t uncommon for individuals with fibromyalgia to also have acid reflux or Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Because the symptoms of fibromyalgia can easily be mistaken for other conditions, it is important to speak with an experienced doctor about your pain. At the Pain Management Group, our care providers are highly skilled and have a great deal of knowledge about fibromyalgia and related conditions. At our Orlando pain management center, we can devise a personalized treatment plan and help you reduce and even eliminate your pain.
Schedule an appointment today to learn more. Contact our team by calling (888) 832-3597.