Fibromyalgia, a widespread and chronic pain disorder, can be challenging to diagnose due to its varying symptoms. Medically speaking, the actual cause of fibromyalgia remains unknown. But some experts believe it involves a combination of physical stress or emotional stress, infection, genetics, and changes to certain chemicals in the brain.
In this article, I will describe six common signs and symptoms to help you understand this complex condition better. Keep reading to learn more about fibromyalgia and how to identify its potential indicators.
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Signs and Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
1. Widespread Pain
One of the most prominent symptoms of fibromyalgia is a constant, dull pain that affects both sides of the body, above and below the waist. This pain often lasts for at least three months and can be felt in muscles, joints, and tendons. The pain may feel like a deep ache or a burning sensation.
Many fibromyalgia sufferers experience extreme fatigue, even after a full night’s rest. This fatigue can interfere with daily activities, making it difficult to concentrate or accomplish tasks. Additionally, patients may suffer from unrefreshing sleep, waking up feeling just as tired as when they went to bed.
3. Cognitive Difficulties
Fibromyalgia can also impact cognitive function, leading to difficulties with focus, attention, and memory. This phenomenon, known as “fibro fog,” can make it challenging to complete tasks or retain information. The severity of these cognitive issues varies from person to person.
Research shows that patients with fibromyalgia are twice more likely to have mental clarity than patients who have rheumatic diseases.
4. Sensitivity to Touch
Individuals with fibromyalgia often have increased sensitivity to touch, known as allodynia. This means that even a gentle touch, which wouldn’t ordinarily cause pain, can be painful for someone with fibromyalgia.
5. Stiffness and Joint Pain
People with fibromyalgia frequently experience stiffness in their joints, particularly in the morning or after periods of inactivity. This stiffness can last for several minutes or even hours and can affect any joint in the body. Joint pain, similar to arthritis, is also a common symptom, although fibromyalgia doesn’t cause joint damage like arthritis does.
6. Headaches and Migraines
Headaches, including tension headaches and migraines, are other common fibromyalgia symptoms. These headaches can be triggered by stress, poor sleep, or muscle tension in the neck and shoulders. Migraines can be particularly debilitating, causing sensitivity to light and sound, as well as nausea.
The Bottom Line
Fibromyalgia is a complex condition that manifests through various signs and symptoms. Widespread pain, fatigue, cognitive difficulties, sensitivity to touch, stiffness, joint pain, and headaches are among the most common indicators. If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for a proper check-up and treatment.