The fundamental symptoms of fibromyalgia consist of widespread musculoskeletal pain, relentless fatigue and disturbance of sleep. For some it feels like a persistent flu.
The pain which seems to be everywhere resides in the soft fibrous tissues of the body – the muscles, ligaments and tendons. It is most commonly experienced in the head, neck, shoulders, upper back chest, rib cage, lower back and thighs. The muscles may ache, feel pulled, stretched or stiff, and may include twitching, burning, stabbing, and throbbing, sensations. The pain may range in severity from mild discomfort to completely disabling.
You wake up tired and you never seem to get enough sleep, even though you get more than enough sleep. Some researchers believe that these symptoms are due to an interrupted sleep pattern. Deep sleep is virtually impossible because it’s frequently interrupted by bursts of brain activity that resemble being awake.
It is unclear whether disturbances of sleep are a result of fibromyalgia or one of the contributing factors to the syndrome itself. Regardless, those who do experience interruption of sleep are also apt to experience restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea and night time muscle spasms in their legs.
Fatigue is so severe that it’s hard to function. It can’t be relieved by any amount of rest or sleep.
There are usually tender points in particular parts of the body. Most frequently located in the neck, back, knee, shoulder and hip.
Other Common Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
- Muscle spasms and leg cramps
- Cognitive Dysfunction – Commonly called Fibro fog, Fibro brain, Brain Fog. (difficulty remembering, concentrating and performing simple mental tasks)
- Abdominal pain
- Jaw Pain
- Sensitivity to odors, sound and bright lights
- Sensitivity to extreme cold or heat
- Numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, arms and legs
- Frequent need to urinate
- Sensitivity to chemicals
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Stiffness ain the neck and shoulders
- Myofacial pain
The symptoms of Fibromyalgia can vary in intensity and tend to wax and wane over time. There are a variety of factors that seem to aggravate or set off symptoms such as – cold environments, wind, changes in the weather, barometric pressure, heat, stress, infections, allergies, moldy or damp days, hormonal fluctuations and over-exertion.
Symptoms may also fluctuate throughout the day. Many people report that mornings are very bad, but this can vary from person to person. One person may do better in the morning and worse in the evening. One hour you may feel like you’re going to die from pain and the next hour it may dissipate. Some symptoms may be your companion on a daily basis, while other symptoms may only occur every now and then. For example, at one point of my life I had musculoskeletal pain and headaches pretty much every day, but every once in while I experienced dizziness so severe I couldn’t do anything except lie flat on my back and stare at the ceiling for a couple days and then it just disappeared completely and wouldn’t return for 6 or 7 months.
It’s important to note that many Fibromyalgia symptoms overlap with the symptoms of many other conditions. Particularly those of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Candida. Some experts believe that both FMS and CFS are really the result of Candida Overgrowth and when one looks over the list of symptoms for Candida this seems like a very reasonable conclusion.
Many Fibro symptoms are often the result of undiagnosed food sensitivities and many symptoms can be relieved by identifying these foods and removing them from the diet. Other factors involved in FMS include neurotransmitter deficiencies or imbalances, nutritional deficiencies.and adrenal fatigue.
I, personally, was able to completely eliminate my Fibromyalgia pain and rarely have a flare by following the Paleolithic diet, practicing mild exercise, and eliminating exposure to environmental toxins in the household. Also, during my recovery I often used a mindfulness based meditation technique to manage that pain, and you can learn this technique in Mindfulness Over Chronic Pain.
Although there is no none “cure” for Fibromyalgia many patients can reduce, eliminate or manage a lot of the symptoms of Fibromyalgia by making changes in lifestyle and following a variety of alternative health approaches that you may learn more about on the Fibromyalgia Treatment page.