Fibromyalgia is a common chronic disorder that is characterized by widespread pain, among other symptoms. It can cause significant pain and fatigue, interfering with a person’s ability to carry out their daily activities. While the causes of fibromyalgia are unknown, it’s estimated that it affects 5 million Americans ages 18 or older.
Research has shown that fibromyalgia patients typically see several different doctors before receiving their diagnosis. The symptoms of fibromyalgia often mimmick other health issues, which can make it hard to diagnose. Understanding the symptoms can help a patient identify their diagnosis sooner, so they can find a way to manage their pain.
Here are eight signs of fibromyalgia you should never ignore:
1. Body Stiffness
The majority of patients who suffer from fibromyalgia experience body stiffness. This usually occurs in the morning. The stiff feeling is similar to those who suffering from arthritis. It may fade within 10-15 minutes, or it may last most of the day.
2. Abnormal Digestion
Symptoms of fibromyalgia can include constipation, diarrhea and bloating. About 40-70% of patients who are suffering from fibromyalgia experience symptoms similar to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Acid Reflux and GERD.
3. Numbness, Swelling Or Tingling
Many fibromyalgia sufferers experience a pins and needles sensation. This often occurs in the arms, feet, hands and legs – a condition known as paraesthesia. For some patients, these sensations might only last a few minutes. For other patients, the sensations can last much longer.
4. Head To Toe Pain
Approximately 97% of patients suffering from fibromyalgia experience pain across their entire body. Fibromyalgia pain is often described as “deep, sharp, throbbing or aching.” This type of pain is often constant, and unresponsive to over-the-counter pain medication.
5. Finger Spasms And Toe Spasms
Arterial spasms of the hands or toes is a fairly common symptom of fibromyalgia. It can result from exposure to the cold or stress. The areas that are affected will develop a blue or pale tint. Arterial spasms are also accompanied by pain.
6. Poor Sleep Quality
Fibromyalgia can make it difficult for a patient to get quality sleep. Studies have shown erratic brain activity in fibromyalgia patients during rest. This irregular brain activity, along with pain or stiffness, can cause poor quality sleep.
7. Fibromyalgia Fog
Fibromyalgia sufferers may experience a brain fog. Trouble concentrating and difficulty with short term memory can be symptoms of fibromyalgia. General feelings of confusion, forgetfulness and lack of mental clarity may also arise.
8. Sensitivity To Temperature
Patients with fibromyalgia often have a difficult time regulating their body temperature. They may feel extreme heat or extreme cold when the temperature hasn’t changed drastically.