FMS, or fibromyalgia syndrome, has flummoxed the medical profession since the early 1900s. Because of the large number of symptoms, and the lack of any pathology showing up on blood tests and scans, fibromyalgia has often been misdiagnosed as hypochondria or mental illness. You can imagine the amount of additional suffering this has caused patients with fibromyalgia.
The most well-known fibromyalgia symptoms are pain, fatigue and cognitive issues. But there is so much more to this unusual and, often dumbfounding, illness. Scroll down to jump straight to the full list of fibromyalgia symptoms, or read on for a better understanding of this illness. Including a link to the results of the latest scientific study about FMS, and, co-morbid conditions.
It is thought now that between 2% and 5% of the population have fibromyalgia. It is so widespread that scientists and pharmaceutical companies are increasingly conducting studies to determine the cause of the illness and find medications that will ease the suffering ‘fibromites’ experience (and, of course, line their own pockets).
The latest research has provided scientific proof that fibromyalgia is real and causes widespread inflammation in the brain. These results are a huge raspberry to anyone, including medical professionals, who have accused fibromyalgia sufferers of malingering in the past. More about this discovery here
Fibromyalgia – Is it a Disease or a Syndrome?
Maybe now fibromyalgia will be reclassified as a disease, rather than a syndrome. This is an important distinction to sufferers because it means they will likely get more support, both medically and financially. More funding should go into treatments and fibromyalgia will be taken seriously.
Co-morbid Conditions of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia comes with a series of co-morbid conditions. Some of these are considered ‘secondary’ to fibromyalgia. For example, a sufferer of rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus, may go on to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
Below are some conditions that often ‘jump on board’ when you suffer from fibromyalgia:
-Chronic fatigue (CFS) and ME; bone-deep exhaustion of body and mind
-IBS; stomach pain, constipation and diarrhoea
-Cognitive dysfunction; the dreaded ‘fibro fog’
-Reynauds Syndrome; cold and numbness in hands and feet
-Arthritis; inflammation in the joints of the body
-Sjorgens Syndrome; dry eyes and mouth
The Full List of Fibromyalgia Symptoms
Below is the list of fibromyalgia symptoms, even the weirder symptoms that blite fibromites. There are, no doubt, other symptoms not listed here as people’s experience of fibromyalgia is unique to them. Nevertheless, it is a comprehensive list and broken down by category.
If you believe you may have fibromyalgia, you could copy and paste the list below to a Word document, then print the list of fibromyalgia symptoms off and put a tick against those that you are experiencing. This will make it easier for you when you visit your doctor. This author has fibromyalgia and, believe me, you need all the help you can get when trying to explain so many symptoms. I’m pretty sure I saw my doctor’s eye’s glaze over halfway through.
It is important to point out here that, even if you have some of these symptoms, it does not mean you have fibromyalgia. Only your doctor, or a specialist, can properly diagnose that. Also, symptoms can wax and wane, and not everyone suffers from all of the fibromyalgia symptoms listed.
- Depression and anxiety
- Poor sense of balance and dizziness
- Speech problems, slurring and stuttering
- Bad Headaches and migraines
- Brain fog, aka fibro fog, difficulty thinking clearly
- Pain and a feeling of heaviness in neck and shoulders
- Leg pain, this can present as deep burning pain, a dull ache, or a sharp stinging pain
- Body very achy and weak, especially in the morning
- Chest pain, usually caused by costochondritis
- Myofascial pain, pain in the muscles and soft body tissue
- Lower back pain
- Tenderness in hands and soles of feet
- Deep pain in groin and underarms
- Painful and swollen glands
- Pain when fibromyalgia tender points gently pressed (see image)
- Pain when touched gently (Allodynia)
- From general malaise to a fatigue so all-encompassing that only prolonged rest can remedy it
- Fatigue that can shut down the body for a while, as though your batteries need recharging.
- For a greater understanding of this read about ‘Spoon Theory‘
- Poor appetite
- Sugar cravings
- Food sensitivities
- Dysphagia, difficulties swallowing
- Dysgeusia, impaired sense of taste
- Unrefreshing sleep
- Difficulties falling asleep and staying asleep
- Restless leg syndrome
- Sleep apnoea
- Waking due to pain and discomfort
- Hot (oft described as ‘burning’) feet
- Difficulties lifting arms and using hands, poor motor control
- Hips feel weak causing poor balance and difficulties walking
- Legs can give way causing a collapse
- Numbness and tingling in hands and feet
TMJ – Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome
- Pain in the joints each side of the jaw bone
- Teeth grinding at night
- General jaw tension
Hyper Vigilance – An enhanced state of sensitivity
- An exaggerated startle reflex to sudden noises
- Multiple Chemical sensitivity, adverse reactions to touch and smell of chemical products
- Sensitivity to noise, smells and light
- The mind is constantly ‘on guard’ and in fight-or-flight mode
- Difficulties passing urine
- Frequent urination
- Low libido
- Erectile dysfunction
- Disproportionately irritated by labels and seams in clothing
- Discomfort when sitting, lying or standing
- Painful and itchy lumps underneath the skin
- Non-specific red, blotchy or mottled rashes on the skin
- General itching (sometimes sharp and painful)
- Difficulties regulating body temperature
Low Tolerance Threshold To-
- Coffee (or any stimulants)
- Certain foods
Some of the Weirder Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
- Body parts vibrate (as though a mobile phone is buzzing against your body)
- Paraesthesia (the feeling of something crawling under your skin)
- Skin touching skin can be unbearable, even when it’s your own
- Smelling things that nobody else can smell
- Involuntary muscle spasms, where muscles clench and twitch on their own
Finding the right balance of exertion is difficult for fibromites. Too much and you risk a flare up, too little and your fibromyalgia symptoms may feel worse. The Mayo Clinic offers some good advice on this issue.
NB: The symptoms of fibromyalgia are so varied and different for each sufferer. If you have symptoms that you do not see here, please put them in the comment section below and I will add them to the list