- Soft tissue and Muscle pain — The most common symptom of fibromyalgia is widespread chronic and persistent pain especially of the muscle and tendons. Many times when pain is felt in muscles and soft tissues there may be no visible abnormalities in the area. Often the pain is described as a “deep” muscular “aching”, “soreness” and “stiffness.” This can occur with burning and or throbbing. Many patients may feel numbness, tingling, and “crawling” sensations of the arms and legs. Muscle pain is always present, and will often vary in the level of intensity and can be aggravated by conditions like anxiety, stress, poor sleep, mild exertion, and often exposure to cold and or damp weather. People will often describe their symptoms as feeling kind of like when they have the flu.
- Areas of Pain — Pain may often be located in specific areas, very often the neck and shoulders, this is very common in the early part of the disease. Multiple regions will eventually be involved, with many patients describing pain in the neck, middle and lower back, arms and legs, and chest wall. The areas referred to as “tender points” will often feel painful with mild to moderate pressure. Patients suffering with fibromyalgia often feel as if their joints are swollen, however often there will be no visible inflammation of the joint — unlike forms of arthritis.
- Headaches that occur in a repeating pattern, including migraines
- Irritable bowel (IBS) symptoms, especially frequent abdominal pain and episodes of diarrhea, constipation, and often cycles of both.
- Painful bladder syndrome — bladder pain and urinary urgency (feeling like you have to go right now) and frequency (having to go often) are present without an infection
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome — usually presents as limited jaw movement with clicking, snapping, and or popping sounds when opening or closing the mouth. This is also associated with pain of the facial and jaw muscles in or around the ear.
- Sleep disturbances and Fatigue — Chronic fatigue (feeling tired) occurs in about 90 percent of people later diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Most people describe having unusually unrefreshing and nonrestorative sleep. The also report having difficulty falling asleep many times waking up repeatedly during the night and this leading associated with a feeling of exhaustion upon awakening
- Anxiety and Depression — People with fibromyalgia also often have depression with or without anxiety and are more likely to develop both later in life. This is also true of many chronic pain conditions. It is important to realize that fibromyalgia is not simply a physical manifestation of depression and the two are separate illnesses.
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