Fibromyalgia is a condition that affects the muscles and tissues.
It can cause pain all over the body, fatigue, and problems with memory and concentration.
Millions of people suffer from fibromyalgia, but many don’t know they have it.
That’s because the early signs are often mistaken for other conditions.
If you think you might have fibromyalgia, it’s important to see a doctor right away so you can get the treatment you need.
This article will help you identify the most common early warning signs of fibromyalgia so that you can get diagnosed and start feeling better sooner rather than later.
Read this article now to learn more about fibromyalgia!
But before we dive into the early signs, let’s take a quick look at what fibromyalgia is.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that can cause pain, fatigue, sleep problems, and other symptoms.
It’s believed to involve abnormalities in the way the brain and spinal cord process pain signals.
There’s no known cure for fibromyalgia, but treatments can help lessen its symptoms.
Here are early warning signs of fibromyalgia
1. Chronic Pain
One of the most common early warning signs of fibromyalgia is chronic pain.
It can be widespread pain, meaning it affects your entire body, or it can be localized to specific areas, such as your neck, shoulders, or back.
The pain can range from mild to severe and may get worse with activity.
Fibromyalgia patients typically describe their pain as a dull, continuous ache that has lasted for at least three months.
For some people, the pain is so severe that it interferes with their daily activities.
According to the US National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), as many as 80 percent of people with fibromyalgia experience pain.
But can you have fibromyalgia without pain?
Yes, some people with fibromyalgia may not have pain as their predominant symptom.
Along with pain, fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia.
You may feel exhausted all the time, even if you’ve had a good night’s sleep.
The fatigue can be so severe that it interferes with your ability to do everyday activities.
In fact, the National Health Service (NHS) describes fibromyalgia fatigue as severe tiredness that may appear unexpectedly and drain you of all your energy.
And if this happens, you may be so exhausted that you can’t even do anything else other than rest.
3. Sleep Problems
Another warning sign of fibromyalgia you shouldn’t ignore is sleep disturbances.
People with fibromyalgia often have trouble falling asleep, and when they do, they don’t stay asleep for long.
They may wake up feeling just as exhausted as when they went to bed.
If you have fibromyalgia, you may also have sleep problems such as restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea.
These conditions can make it even harder to get a good night’s sleep.
Read more: What to Do When You Can’t Sleep
4. Depression and anxiety
Mood changes are also common in people with fibromyalgia.
You may feel depressed, anxious, or irritable.
These mood changes can be a result of the pain and fatigue that are associated with fibromyalgia, or they may be due to the stress of living with a chronic condition.
Whatever the cause, they can make life very difficult.
According to experts, approximately 25% of fibromyalgia patients also have depression.
Learn more: 6 Simple Things to Do to Fight Depression
5. Cognitive problems
Problems with thinking, memory, and concentration are also common in people with fibromyalgia.
You may find it hard to focus, remember things, and make decisions.
These cognitive problems can be very frustrating and can affect your ability to do everyday tasks.
Medically this is called “fibro fog” or “brain fog.”
People with fibromyalgia often experience headaches, including tension headaches and migraines.
The headaches can be very severe and may be accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, light sensitivity, and changes in vision.
If you are experiencing frequent headaches, it’s important to see a doctor to rule out other causes.
7. Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
Do you often feel like your hands or feet are “asleep”?
This pins-and-needles sensation is called paresthesia, and it’s a common symptom of fibromyalgia.
Paresthesia can be caused by several things, including nerve compression (as in carpal tunnel syndrome) or poor circulation.
But in people with fibromyalgia, it’s thought to be the result of changes in the way the brain processes pain signals.
8. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Many people with fibromyalgia also experience irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is characterized by abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, and constipation.
If you’re experiencing these digestive symptoms along with other fibromyalgia symptoms, it’s important to talk to your doctor so you can get the help you need.
When to see a doctor
If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor.
They can help you determine whether you have fibromyalgia or another condition.
Getting an accurate diagnosis is important because there is no cure for fibromyalgia, but there are treatments that can help lessen the symptoms.
So if you do have fibromyalgia, it’s important to get the help you need so you can live as comfortably as possible.