Those suffering from fibromyalgia can experience several debilitating health issues that make even simple activities difficult for them. There is no known cause or cure for this musculoskeletal condition, and some people don’t even know they have it. Knowing the symptoms of fibromyalgia will help you or a loved one get this problem diagnosed. Diagnosis is the first step needed for managing stress and improving quality of life through treatment and medication.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a condition that affects your muscles and bones, causing widespread pain. This pain can lead to other symptoms, such as sleep disorders and fatigue. It is thought that genetics, infections, and physical events can trigger the development of fibromyalgia.
Researchers believe that repeated nerve stimulation can cause changes in the brain and spine. This in turn creates an abnormal increase of chemicals in the brain that signal pain. Over time, the person’s pain receptors change as well, becoming more sensitized to these chemicals. Hence the intense reactions to painful and even non-painful stimuli.
Most suffering from this condition will report that their muscles feel sore and overworked. At times, they will feel pain — this can be throbbing, burning, or stabbing sensations. Other times, their muscles can feel tight or stiff. Touching these areas can also cause pain to shoot to other parts of their body.
Most people with fibromyalgia will say that when it isn’t a strong pain, they feel an ache or tenderness in certain areas (such as an arm or a spot on their back). Sometimes, patients will say that the feeling encompasses their entire body. These tender spots can also be felt in tendons around your joint and can feel very painful when pressure is applied, or when the joint is moved.
Recurring headaches are common in fibromyalgia patients. Research has found that up to 70% of patients experience severe headaches at least two times per week. Some patients also reported that these headaches have a migraine component — such as sensitivity to light — and can last from a few hours to a whole day.
These headaches can be a result of strained muscles and tension held by the body in response to their chronic pain. They can be caused by tight neck muscles or tender points in your head or neck. These factors can also contribute to the frequency of migraine symptoms.
Stiff or Painful Jaw
Fibromyalgia can also cause stiffness in your jaw. Typically, this stiffness comes from the condition affecting the muscles and ligaments near your jaw joint. This is temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) and is a common side effect for people suffering from fibromyalgia. Studies have found that fibromyalgia can lead to the development of TMJ disorder. Most will exhibit TMJ symptoms — such as clicking sounds accompanying mouth movement — and experience facial pain.
Numbness, burning and tingling sensations in the hands and feet are also a symptom of fibromyalgia. While the exact causes are unknown, this sensation is common for many patients. These sensations — paresthesia — can happen at random, and last anywhere from a few minutes to days. Normally, the intensity of these feelings is merely bothersome for — you will still be able to do most of your planned activities. However, some will experience this sensation at such an intensity that it feels like the limb is burning.
Feeling fatigued is common for most patients, and is often one of the most incapacitating symptoms of the disorder. If you’re suffering from fibromyalgia, you may feel that your entire body feels heavy, as if weighed down by concrete. As such, even simple tasks can feel overwhelming when dealing with fibromyalgia.
Many people report that their condition makes them feel that the energy they exert is not proportional to the work. They also reported that resting did not alleviate any tiredness they felt. As a result, most with this disorder feel that they have to do things more slowly than those without the disorder.
Impaired Concentration and Memory
Fibromyalgia can also cause difficulties in concentrating on tasks, as well as retaining new information. This can seriously interfere with your daily responsibilities. This symptom is often called “fibro fog” and can affect patients deeply. If you have this condition, you can feel forgetful and easily distracted. You may even feel as if you are unable to think quickly and efficiently. These effects can cause trouble at school or the office.
Most people will say that the pain they feel due to fibromyalgia can make it difficult to rest. Patients often spend their nights experiencing repeat arousal, which can rouse them from their sleep. This leads to poor sleep quality — and over time can develop into a sleep disorder.
This poor sleep is caused by your brain’s reactions to stimuli. Previous testing showed that people with fibromyalgia experience bursts of brain activity at several points in the night. This activity is similar to what happens in the brain when you’re awake. These interruptions prevent the brain from completing the full sleep cycle, which creates an unrested feeling.
Normally, moderate exercise is recommended for several disorders for its pain-relieving effects on the body. However, this is not the case for those with fibromyalgia. Exercise — even light walking — can make the painful symptoms even worse.
A study found that in a group of respondents, half found it extremely difficult to climb up one flight of stairs. The same study also found that a majority of the group could not handle running for a few minutes. The severity of their pain was enough to make standing for a short period taxing on ¼ of the respondents.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Problems with your digestive system could also be a symptom of fibromyalgia. One study found that roughly forty to seventy percent of people with fibromyalgia also suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. Constipation, abdominal pain, and bloating are also side effects of this symptom that are associated with fibromyalgia.
There are many painful and challenging symptoms of fibromyalgia that make significant impacts on the quality and ease of life of a patient. While most of these symptoms are not life-threatening, leaving this condition untreated can take a toll on your well-being.
There are many solutions to managing the pain and discomfort associated with this condition. Finding the right treatment plan starts with contacting experienced healthcare providers. Contact our team today to begin discussing possible care plans for you or a loved one’s fibromyalgia.
Share this Blog
Chiropractor Philippines offers a variety of back pain treatment services. If you want to learn more, click the button below.