Signs and Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia affects the central nervous system, causing widespread pain and other symptoms. Symptoms often begin after an event, such as physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event. Women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than are men. Here are some common signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia:

  1. Widespread pain: Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic, widespread pain that affects multiple areas of the body, including the neck, shoulders, back, hips, and legs. The pain may be described as a deep, persistent ache, or a burning or stabbing sensation.
  2. Fatigue: People with fibromyalgia often experience severe fatigue, even after getting enough rest. They may feel tired or run-down, have trouble concentrating, and experience a general sense of weakness or malaise.
  3. Sleep disturbances: Fibromyalgia can disrupt normal sleep patterns, causing insomnia or restless sleep. People with fibromyalgia may wake up feeling tired, even after a full night’s sleep.
  4. Cognitive difficulties: Fibromyalgia can cause problems with memory, concentration, and other cognitive functions. This is often referred to as “fibro fog.”
  5. Headaches: Many people with fibromyalgia experience frequent headaches, including migraines.
  6. Sensory sensitivity: People with fibromyalgia may be hypersensitive to stimuli such as light, noise, and touch. This can make it difficult to tolerate certain types of clothing, or to be in busy or overstimulating environments.
  7. Stiffness: Fibromyalgia can make you feel stiff. The stiffness may be most severe when you have been in the same position for a long period of time – for example, when you first wake up in the morning.
  8. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): Fibromyalgia is often associated with IBS, a gastrointestinal condition that causes abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel habits.

Other symptoms

Other symptoms you may have if you have fibromyalgia include:

  • dizziness and clumsiness
  • feeling too hot or too cold – this is because you’re not able to regulate your body temperature properly
  • an overwhelming urge to move your legs (restless legs syndrome) 
  • tingling, numbness, prickling or burning sensations in your hands and feet (pins and needles, also known as paraesthesia)
  • in women, unusually painful periods
  • anxiety

Fibromyalgia often co-exists with other conditions, such as:

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome
  • Temporomandibular joint disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Postural tachycardia syndrome

It’s important to note that fibromyalgia symptoms can vary widely from person to person, and may overlap with other conditions. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a healthcare provider for an evaluation and diagnosis.