6 Evident Signs of Fibromyalgia

The long list of chronic illnesses is incomplete without mentioning Fibromyalgia, a disorder which affects close to 5 million people in the U.S. main symptoms of Fibromyalgia include physical issues such as increased sensitivity to pressure and pain across the entire body. Other symptoms also include fatigue, memory issues nervous issues such as restless leg syndrome and numbness in certain parts of body and bowel issues.

Fibromyalgia legs

A Patient’s First Hand Experience

Maggie, who has suffered from Fibromyalgia for over 10 years, shared her experiences about living with the disease. She mentioned that the most challenging aspect was the diagnosis as there was no easy way to pin point what was wrong with her body.

Maggie underwent X-rays and tested for gout, arthritis and MS but all the tests showed no signs of any abnormality. It was only after she visited a neurologist and rheumatologist that the diagnosis became clear: she had Fibromyalgia.

Maggie remarked that the continuous pain had certainly certain activities of her life. “Because of my constant pain, I can no longer do all of those things I used to go do, even visiting my children,” she said. “It’s just awful, because people don’t understand, and it’s been going on for so long that people think I’m making up my symptoms.”

Fibromyalgia Pain

6 Common Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

The cause of Fibromyalgia has yet to be ascertained, but the leading factors contributing towards its onset have been identified as being both genetic and environmental. These factors can range from hereditary genetics, various diseases, extreme emotional or physical distress or even infections. All of these can cause Fibromyalgia in an individual, wreaking havoc upon the body’s normal response to pain. Following are 6 leading symptoms of Fibromyalgia:

  1. Extensive, Unpredictable Pain

Pain as a result of Fibromyalgia is unique on its own and can be identified easily. It starts off as a deep, dull pain in the muscles as if they are aching after a long day. The pain is symmetrical in nature, being felt simultaneously on both sides of the body. The pain is not limited to any part of the body; it can be felt on both the upper and lower halves of the body.

The pain itself is unpredictable in nature of severity and timings. It may be there one day and be gone for the next few days. This makes routine life harder to plan as there is no way knowing for certain when it may return.

  1. Increased Pain onTender Points

In addition to more widespread pain, Fibromyalgia causes tender points around the body. They’re called tender points because when you press on them, they hurt. There are 18 possible tender points. You may have pain in some or all of these places:

Fibromyalgia doesn’t just cause unpredictable pain: it also increases sensitivity to it and creates pressure points across the body. These tender points are painful whenever slight pressure is applied on them and their placement can be on the following places:

  • Around the elbows
  • Back of skull
  • Front of neck
  • The hips
  • Behind the knees
  • In front of the chest
  • Between the shoulder blades

 

  1. Continuous Lethargy, Fatigue and Restless Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep becomes a challenge for patients suffering from Fibromyalgia due to continuous nature of pain. Accompanying syndromes such as Restless Leg and Sleep Apnea also play their role in staving off restful sleep. Continuous disturbance of sleep patterns and timings wreaks havoc upon the body, resulting in lethargy and fatigue. The person feels tired all the time and worsens the condition.

  1. Weakened Mental and Cognitive Functionality

Fibromyalgia weakens memory and cognitive functionality. Patients find their attention span and focus disorientated and often encounter difficulty remembering recent events and objectives. It is also characterized by slurring of speech and that of verbal meanings.

The above ailments are informally termed as “Fibro Fog” because the patients describe themselves enveloped in a mental fog. The mental state can be attributed towards multiple factors such as sleep deprivation, continuous pain and effects of Fibromyalgia on brain and nervous system.

  1. Sudden, unexplained Migraines and Headaches

People suffering from Fibromyalgia suffer from throbbing migraines which cause nausea, hot flashes and vomiting. These have been attributed towards hormonal imbalance of chemicals such as epinephrine and serotonin.

  1. Painful Periods

Women suffering from Fibromyalgia reported having much more painful periods and some also suffered from Endometriosis, which causes uterus tissue development on other areas of pelvis.

 

Learning to cope with Fibromyalgia

Living with a chronic disease is never easy, but altering lifestyle and taking care of one’s self can add much needed quality back into life. Women are 5 times more likely to be diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, so regular visits to the doctor are imperative. Once diagnosed, medical professionals can aid patient in developing a personalized treatment plan according to preferences. Light aerobic exercises, behavioral therapies and medication are all necessary elements of living a quality life even with Fibromyalgia.

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