These Symptoms Of Fibromyalgia Will Shock You Discover Now
Fibromyalgia is a medical disorder in which patient experience intense musculoskeletal pain along with fatigue, mood issues and insomnia. Research has suggested that fibromyalgia increases painful sensations by influencing pain pathways in the brain.
Symptoms start appearing after surgery, infection or any stressful situation. In other cases, symptoms can appear out of nowhere without any apparent cause. Women are more prone to develop fibromyalgia than men. While there is no definitive treatment for fibromyalgia, certain medications can help diminish symptoms. Exercise, yoga and stress-relaxing measures can help decrease pain and sleep problems.
Rigorous research has been done to find out causes of fibromyalgia. These may include:
- Genetics. This disorder tends to run in families. There may be certain genetic mutations that can make you more vulnerable to develop this disease.
- Infections. Some infections and bacteria appear to increase probability of developing fibromyalgia.
- Physical or emotional trauma. Fibromyalgia can be aggravated by physical trauma, such as a car accident.
- Psychological stress: Any stressful circumstances can aggravate the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
The diagnosis of fibromyalgia is made by the physician through clinical evaluation because researchers have been unable to find any laboratory tests, radiographic studies, or biological markers to help them in making definitive diagnosis.
1Pain and tender points
Widespread pain in musculoskeletal system is one of the leading issues of fibromyalgia. Doctors have identified specific regions on the body that appear to be tender. These tender points can occur on both sides of the body. Most common tender points in fibromyalgia are:
- upper chest
- dorsum of hand
- elbow region
- knees caps
- upper side of the shoulders
A person who has fibromyalgia do not complain about constant pain in those tender areas. The pain can be intermittent and migratory in natures. It means that it may move to different areas of the body. Over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen are commonly advised by the physicians. Drugs such as milnacipran and duloxetine are the ones approved by The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They function by altering brain chemistry so pain levels can be mitigated. One drug, pregabalin, restricts transmission of pain.
Around 76 percent of people with fibromyalgia have been found to develop constant fatigue that does not go away even after adequate rest.
The fatigue caused by fibromyalgia is quite different regular fatigue or tiredness. Fibromyalgia fatigue impacts quality of life of the patient as it influences person’s ability to work and engage in daily social activities. Researchers are still working on understanding the association between fibromyalgia and fatigue. Sleep issues play a significant role in causing fatigue in the patient of fibromyalgia.
Sleep problems are recognized as one of the most common symptoms in patients of fibromyalgia. Lack of restorative sleep, alongside physical pain and cognitive symptoms, is one of the most important point that helps the doctors in making diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Disturbed sleep and insomnia results in daytime fatigue in the patient of fibromyalgia.
Almost all patients suffering from fibromyalgia experience some form of sleep problem. Poor sleep results in mental and physical health issues in the patient. One research suggested that 99 percent of fibromyalgia patients experienced poor sleep quality that impacted how harshly they experienced physical pain, fatigue, and difficulty with social functioning. Sleep issues should be managed as early as possible as they can exacerbate other symptoms of fibromyalgia. Contact your doctor immediately if you are having any sleep problems. Your doctor may perform a complete physical exam of your muscles and joints to look out for any accompanying symptoms along with sleep issues. Your doctor may recommend a sleep study to rule out sleep apnea and other causes of disrupted sleep.
4Concentration and memory problems
Patients with fibromyalgia can also complain of cognitive issues. Cognitive issues faced in patient of fibromyalgia are termed as “fibrofog.” The presence of these symptoms has been proved by incidence of cognitive issues in fibromyalgia patients. Fibromyalgia can affect working memory, semantic memory, everyday attention, task switching, and selective attention of the patient. One research suggests that fibromyalgia impairs working, episodic, and semantic memory that impersonates about 20 years of aging. These patients have particular problems with memory when tasks are multifaceted and their attention is diverted. Cognitive symptoms in these patients may be aggravated by the presence of depression, anxiety, sleep problems, endocrine disturbances, and pain. Standardized treatment has not yet been discovered. Research has suggested that people living with fibromyalgia are three times more vulnerable to cognitive issues including short-term memory loss. If you are facing any issues regarding cognition and loss of memory, visit your doctor immediately as things can go worse if the treatment is delayed.
5Anxiety or depression
People suffering from fibromyalgia have reported extreme episodes of anxiety and depression. Pain and fatigue are the real culprits causing anxiety and social isolation. The tender point pain in these patients can result in poor quality of life. Patient is unable to perform daily life activities which eventually leads to depression. It is also possible that anxiety and depression are part of the disease process, just like the pain. Depression and fibromyalgia can vastly influence the way you manage your daily life activities. Patients are advised to visit a psychologist in these circumstances. Stress relaxing activities and proper counselling can immensely help the patient.
6Numbness, and tingling in hands, arms, feet, and legs
Numbness or tingling in legs and feet, hands or arms is a common symptom in fibromyalgia patient. This numbness and tingling are medically called as paresthesia. Around 1 in 4 people with fibromyalgia suffer from numbness and tingling sensation in some part of the body.
Doctor are still unsure what causes people with fibromyalgia to suffer from paresthesia. Two possible causes that can cause this sensation are muscle stiffness and muscle spasms. These muscle spasms can impinge nerve fibers eventually leading to tingling sensation. Numbing and tingling may diminish and reappear without any definitive aggravating or diminishing factor. Contact your doctor as soon as possible in case you are suffering from tingling or numbness in any part of your body.
Chronic headaches are one of the most common symptoms or comorbidities after generalized pain and fatigue in the patients suffering from fibromyalgia.
These ‘headaches’ can actually be diagnosed in different from. Some of them are mentioned below:
- chronic migraine (with or without aura)
- chronic tension-type headache
- cluster headache
Researchers have suggested that a chronic headache can occur in around 76% of fibromyalgia patients. Migraine is the most common type of headache disorder in patients suffering from fibromyalgia.
8Irritable bowel syndrome
According to the UNC Center for Functional GI & Motility Disorders, up to 60 percent of people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome also suffer from fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia and IBS share common clinical characteristics as both the disorder have pain symptoms, are more common in women and are commonly associated with stress. Disturbed sleep and fatigue are also common in both medical diseases. Exactly how fibromyalgia and IBS are associated is still under investigation.
Around 90% of women suffering from fibromyalgia experience menstrual cramps at some point in their life. Research has suggested that fibromyalgia causes a general sensitization of the nervous system which eventually results in intense crushing pain. People with fibromyalgia have low pain threshold due to excessive sensitization which can lead to frequent painful episodes of menstrual cramps in women with fibromyalgia. Contact your doctor as soon as possible if you are suffering from frequent painful menstrual cramps.
10Anxiety and depression
Fibromyalgia is a disease which can hurt physically, mentally, and socially. About 20 percent who suffer from fibromyalgia suffer from an anxiety disorder or depression. Research has suggested that there is a strong connection between these two medical disorders but the cause is still under investigation.
Doctor normally advises medication and psychotherapy treatments for managing depression and anxiety in these patients. Psychotherapy is the best possible way to manage these mental health issues normally aggravated by stressful circumstances.
Chest pain is a rare symptom in fibromyalgia but it can be easily ignored by the patients. When patient experiences chest pain associated with fibromyalgia, he misunderstands it for a heart attack or any pulmonary issue. But these features help doctors in making definite diagnosis.
Features of chest pain in fibromyalgia are:
- limited to one point but may radiate in outward direction
Fibromyalgia causes chest pain due to damage to muscles, tendons, or ligaments. Most common complaint in chest region is due to costochondritis caused by fibromyalgia. It is due to inflammation in costochondral cartilage. Your doctor may prescribe few pain medications to mitigate intense pain. ECG and chest X ray are done to rule out any possible cardiopulmonary cause of chest pain in the patient.
Heat and Cold intolerance
Fibromyalgia can result in temperature intolerance in the patient but the reason behind this is under investigation.
Patients of fibromyalgia complain of feeling extreme cold compared to others even at the room temperatures. This may be due to excessive sensitization of nervous systems. On the other hand, patient of fibromyalgia can also come with presenting complaint of feeling unusually warm compared to others. Temperature sensitivity normally occurs in the hands and feet. One research revealed that people with fibromyalgia experienced pain from cold temperatures that weren’t very unusual for healthy people. People with fibromyalgia could only stand a temperature of 13 degrees Celsius but healthy people reported pain at 1-7 degree Celsius. Imaging tests was also done on these patients which revealed that the pain pathways in the brains and spinal cord were not normal in patients suffering from fibromyalgia.
If you are experiencing heat or cold intolerance, ask for help as soon as possible so that proper diagnosis can be made before starting the treatment.
Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is a common complaint in people suffering from fibromyalgia. Some researchers suggest that that both these diseases come under an umbrella term “central sensitivity syndromes.” This is because of the fact that both the disorders involve alteration in degree of sensitization in brain and spinal cord. The central nervous system becomes hyper-responsive to external stimuli such as light, noise and temperature.
14Swelling in hands
Individuals who have fibromyalgia can present with the complain of joint swelling. Patient of fibromyalgia may actually feel a “crawling” sensation on their hands and feet. Doctors find it tough to differentiate it with arthritis but the “swelling” of the joints in patients of fibromyalgia isn’t actually swelling at all, but just a feeling of swelling. This feeling can be very uncomfortable for the patients.
Common visual signs in the patients of fibromyalgia are mentioned below:
- Blurred & impaired vision: Ocular muscles are adversely affected leading to blurred vision. Symptoms are aggravated when the patient is tired and exhausted. This is because they are unable to move their eyes. Patients may also complain of double vision.
- Night driving difficulty: If patients feels that he is having difficulty in driving at night, this is a sign of eyesight deterioration due to fibromyalgia.
- Dry eyes: Dry eyes can be sign that your muscles aren’t functioning properly. Blinking of eyes is important for hydration which can be painful in patients of fibromyalgia.
- Eye pain: If patient complains of painful eyes, especially when he is stressed or tired, fibromyalgia can be one of the reasons behind this symptom.
- Light sensitivity: As already discussed, patients of fibromyalgia are extremely hyper-responsive to stimulus. Bright lights can trigger headaches in fibromyalgia patients. Patients are advised to shield their eyes from the sun.
Weight gain can be a cardinal feature of fibromyalgia. There are several causes that can lead to weight gain.
Fatigue is one of the main causes of gain of weight in these patients. Fibromyalgia starts a wake-like disturbance in the brainwave pattern during sleep. This doesn’t allow the patient to take restorative rest.
Sleep apnea at night time can which further increases tiredness. Patient is unable to do any physical activity eventually leading to excessive weight.
One research found that a disrupted sleep can lead to increased hypocretin production. This causes increase in appetite of the person. When hypocretin levels rise they can cause fatigue and overeating.
In addition to fatigue, constant pain in the patients restricts the ability to exercise daily which makes them prone to gain weight. Apart from this, prescribed drugs taken to cure depression can also gain in weight. Duloxetine is one of the main examples which is taken to treat fibromyalgia associated-depression. It can cause increased appetite, fluid retention and weight gain.
17Pain during urination
Feeling the urge to urinate and feeling pain during urination can be major symptoms in patients suffering from fibromyalgia.
Bladder or urinary problems in fibromyalgia are still under investigation. The National Institutes of Health recently formed a multidisciplinary Approach to the Study of Chronic Pelvic Pain in patients with fibromyalgia.
Research has revealed that there is an increased risk for urinary tract problems and pelvic pain in patients suffering from fibromyalgia. One study revealed that three in five women with fibromyalgia reported pain of the external female genital organs during urination. Another study revealed that one in five women with fibromyalgia were diagnosed with interstitial cystitis. It can cause pain during urination. People with interstitial cystitis or unexplained bladder pain are more prone to develop fibromyalgia.
If you are experiencing pain during urination, visit your doctor immediately so that he can perform a pelvic examination to rule out any other cause of dysuria.
Fibromyalgia can cause exercise intolerance in the patients. Studies have shown that blood flow to the muscles during exercise is lower than normal in people suffering from this disease which leads to excessive accumulation of lactic acid in muscles. Excessive accumulation leads to muscle related pain in these patients.
In fibromyalgia patients, pain-blocking pathways are less active and less responsive which can restrict the release of endorphins. Hormonal factors may also play a role in causing intense pain and fatigue after exercise. For example, growth hormone can help repair muscle tears that occur after exercise. But studies have revealed deficiencies in growth hormone in these patients leading to defect in repair of those muscle tears. This can also cause intense muscle related pain and fatigue.
19Loss of libido
Fibromyalgia can cause cramps in muscles around the pelvis and lower back during sexual intercourse. This can lead to immense pain in these patients overriding the pleasure of intercourse. Studies have reported gradual decrease in sexual activity over time in these patients.
Doctors may advise painkillers such as duloxetine and antidepressants such as paroxetine and sertraline to decrease the pain and increase sexual desire.
Morning stiffness can be a chief complaint of the patient suffering from fibromyalgia. One study revealed that patients reported stiffness to be maximum at morning time. It decreased by 10% as the day went along. Morning stiffness can be correlated with pain in these patients. Exercises and physiotherapy are recommended to these patients.