- Sensitivity to sound
- Widespread pain
- Sensitivity to touch
- Sensitivity to sound
- Muscular pain
- Flu-like symptoms
- Poor sleep
- Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
- Migraines or headaches
- Dry eyes
- Memory problems
- Numb or tingling feelings
- Bladder problems
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Mood swings
- Pain in the cold
Sensitivity to sound
Around 3% to 6% of the global population have fibromyalgia, according to the National Fibromyalgia Association. While anyone can have this condition, it is seven times more likely in women than men and typically develops between the ages of 30 and 50.
The long-term affliction causes widespread pain all over the body along with numerous other unpleasant symptoms. Fortunately, while the main cause of the condition is currently unknown, there are many effective ways to both treat and manage it.
Should you suspect you have this disorder, it’s worth learning more. Understanding the triggers and fibromyalgia symptoms is the first step in this process. With that in mind, let’s take a deep dive and look at everything you need to know about the condition.
The most common symptom of fibromyalgia is widespread pain. Those who have this long-term condition often experience pain all over their body, but not all of them experience the same sensation. The National Health Service (NHS) notes that the pain may manifest as an ache, a burning sensation, or a sharp, stabbing feeling.
Sensitivity to touch
Hypersensitivity, when touched, is another common fibromyalgia symptom. Experts conducted research on women with the condition and found that they were more sensitive to tactile stimuli than the control group and women with rheumatoid arthritis. In some cases, those with fibromyalgia may experience pain when they are touched.
Sensitivity to sound
Aside from likely being more sensitive to touch, women with fibromyalgia were sensitive to sound, reported the previously-mentioned study. For example, those with the condition may find that sounds seem louder or more annoying to them. However, it is worth noting that the research was based on the participants’ self-reported experiences.
Despite not causing degeneration, regeneration or inflammation of the muscles, fibromyalgia could cause muscular discomfort. One insightful review published in the Rheumatology Journal stated that many patients do report experiencing muscle pain. The experts concluded that additional studies into peripheral and central factors are needed to understand the cause of this self-reported pain.
Often enough, this muscular discomfort is combined with stiffness in patients. The review from the Rheumatology Journal noted that one of the most common fibromyalgia symptoms was muscle stiffness. However, after reviewing a wealth of previous scientific studies, the experts were unable to find a physiological cause for this sign of the condition.
People with the condition sometimes report experiencing “flares.” During these periods, their fibromyalgia symptoms tend to worsen while they may also exhibit flu-like symptoms, such as body aches. While there is some clinical observation of fibromyalgia flares, experts note that there is no current research to evaluate their presence or characteristics.
The widespread pain that many people with fibromyalgia experience could cause sleep disruptions, according to the Sleep Foundation. It’s something of a vicious circle. Less or poor sleep can lead to increased sensitivity to pain, while more pain can lead to poor sleep. The definitive cause of sleep problems in people with fibromyalgia is unknown.
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) causes people to have a strong urge to readjust or move their leg due to discomfort. While RLS may not be a direct fibromyalgia symptom, there is an overlap here. Research from the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine has found high levels of RLS in people with fibromyalgia.
During fibromyalgia “flares,” many people report experiencing high levels of fatigue. Some patients describe this experience as “complete exhaustion” or feeling “too tired to move.” Needless to say, these types of fibromyalgia symptoms can be debilitating, preventing those with the condition from getting on with their day-to-day lives.
Living with a chronic pain disorder can often have mental health implications. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America notes that around 20% of people who have a chronic pain condition also have mental health problems. Anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems, affecting between 2.5% and 7% of people worldwide. Needless to say, if you’re struggling with this problem, reach out to a medical professional.
Depression could be one of the lesser-known fibromyalgia symptoms. According to the information from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, those with chronic pain conditions may also have depression. The common and serious mood disorder causes low moods, irritability, trouble sleeping, and low energy, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Migraines or headaches
Migraines or migraine-like headaches can be painful and exhausting. People who have fibromyalgia may often experience such symptoms, according to the Michigan Headache & Neurological Institute. The experts state that the current belief is that fibromyalgia disturbs the brain’s “pain centre,” resulting in these headaches. However, more research into the underlying cause and connection is needed.
Fibromyalgia patients have a higher risk of getting Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) (or Dry Disease) than the general population. The common eye problem causes issues in the tears and ocular surface. Symptoms of this condition include dry and itchy eyes, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, and general soreness in the eye area.
Experiencing problems with your memory or general cognitive ability could be common fibromyalgia symptoms. Some people use the colloquial term “fibro fog” to describe this often-disconcerting experience. This could manifest in a variety of ways. For example, some people may find it hard to complete simple mental tasks. Equally, they may not remember things in the recent past.
Numb or tingling feelings
Some of the other fibromyalgia symptoms include numbness and tingling in the hands, arms, feet, legs or face. Experts note that these signs are often related to carpal tunnel syndrome or other conditions. For that reason, patients seeking medical attention for this symptom may be harder to diagnose.
Women with fibromyalgia may also experience bladder problems. Research from the official journal of the American Society for Pain Management Nursing found that many female fibromyalgia patients also had pelvic floor symptoms. The latter can cause ongoing problems, such as incontinence. If you are struggling with this issue, speak to your doctor.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Do you struggle with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)? This bowel disorder could be linked to fibromyalgia, according to information from the Canadian Society of Intestinal Research. The signs of IBS include bloating, abdominal pain, gas, and altered bowel habits. For example, those experiencing IBS may at times experience constipation or diarrhea.
Many people who have fibromyalgia experience forms of psychological distress, according to a study from The Open Rheumatology Journal. For example, those living with the condition may have an extreme psychological response to stress or experience mood swings. Should you have untriggered changes in your mood on a regular basis, you may want to speak to a medical professional to get their support and advice.
Pain in the cold
People with fibromyalgia often have symptoms of Raynaud’s phenomenon (RP), which may include pain in cold temperatures and a lack of blood flow to the hands and feet. In extreme circumstances, this can cause a person’s hands or legs to appear blue. If you notice the signs of this condition, you should seek medical attention.
While most women experience some discomfort during their periods, extreme pain could be a sign of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). According to the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association, this condition sometimes overlaps with fibromyalgia. Needless to say, this symptom is common in a variety of disorders. If you have recently started to experience additional pain during your periods, you should speak to a doctor.