The long list of symptoms of fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia can be a baffling disease that affects every part of your life and your body. Generally, it is associated with symptoms such as pain, fatigue and mental fog , but the list of possible symptoms related to FM is incredibly long. Many FM patients have symptoms or pains so strange that they think they should be the only ones who experience it. Does it sound familiar to you? But the reality is that millions of people with FM probably also experience them.

This is a long list and it can be scary to look at it; But keep in mind that many of these symptoms have a relatively small impact or no real impact on your life. In addition, treatments often relieve multiple symptoms, so you do not have to address each one separately.

Next, I detail ” the big list of more than 60 symptoms ” that you can suffer when you have FM and you will realize that it is not only you who suffers them. Knowing the full range of symptoms can help you detect them, either to help your doctor make a diagnosis or to help you identify the triggers.

General symptoms
Some of our symptoms involve multiple systems or are difficult to classify, so we detail them as “general”, although they are not necessarily the most common. These include:
  • Extreme reactions, often delayed, after physical exertion or stressful events (also known as “delayed reaction to exertion”)
  • Other members of the family with FM (genetic predisposition)
  • Extreme sweating
  • Allergies (as a condition of overlap)
  • Especially thick mucus
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Nosebleeds

Unusual pain

These are the pains that essentially define the condition. They are types of pain, which are rare in other diseases and serve as hallmarks of FM. Some examples are:
  • Magnified perception of pain (hyperalgesia)
  • Skin pain, extreme sensitivity to touch or temperature (allodynia)
  • Pain that varies from mild to severe, and can move around the body
  • Nervous pain and abnormal sensations called paresthesia (tingling, burning, itching, stinging, etc.), especially in the arms and legs.

Muscles / Connective tissues / Joints

Although fibromyalgia is a rheumatic disease, it is not considered a joint disease such as arthritis, but it can cause some symptoms related to the joints. Most cases involve soft tissue symptoms, including muscles and connective tissues (tendons, ligaments, and fascia). These might be:
  • Morning stiffness
  • Lax connective tissue, which can lead to hypermobility of the joints
  • Muscle contractions
  • Swelling or low grade swelling (not large amounts of swelling)
  • Fibrocystic breasts (with lumps, painful) (as a superimposed condition)
  • Jaw pain, possibly TMJ syndrome (temporomandibular joint disorder, as a superimposed condition)

Cognitive problems

Often called “fibroneblin”, this is one of the most pervasive and disabling symptoms, in addition to pain and fatigue and sleep problems. Many people feel that fibroneblin affects them more than anything else.
  • Difficulty speaking well-known words, other language disorders (dysphasia)
  • Directional disorientation
  • Impairment of short-term memory
  • I forget
  • Confusion
  • Difficult to focus
  • Difficulty learning new information
  • Difficulty processing or retaining the information you hear
  • Problems with numbers or mathematics
  • Impaired reading comprehension
  • Periodic inability to recognize a family environment

Sensory problems

These are neurological symptoms, similar to pain, in which the situation may be normal, but the response of our brain to them is amplified. These are physiological responses to things in our environment; It is not that we “make a big problem of anything” or “we overreact”. Some symptoms are:
  • Sensitivity to odors or fragrances, possibly multiple chemical sensitivity (as a superimposed condition)
  • Sensitivity to changes in pressure, temperature and humidity
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Sensory overload

Neurological problems

We may also have other neurological symptoms, such as:
  • Little balance and coordination
  • Dizziness, possible fainting
  • Headaches (headaches) and migraines (as a condition of overlap)
  • Ringing in the ears (Tinnitus) (as a condition of overlap)

Problems related to Sleep

Sleep problems are almost as common in fibromyalgia as pain. In addition to the general irregularity of sleep, we can have a series of sleep disorders, such as:
  • Pattern of light and / or interrupted sleep, with restless sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia (as a superimposed condition)
  • Restless legs syndrome (as a superimposed condition)
  • Sleep apnea (as a superimposed condition)
  • Sensations of falling when the dream begins (also called myoclonic jerks)
  • Grinding teeth (bruxism, as a condition of overlap)

Reproductive / Sexual Problems

It is believed that hormones play a role in fibromyalgia, which may be the reason why the following symptoms are common in us:
  • Pre-Menstrual Syndrome or extremely painful periods (as a superimposed condition)
  • Other menstrual problems
  • Premature menopause
  • Loss of sexual desire
  • Impotence (in men)
  • Vulvodynia (as a superimposed condition)

Abdominal / digestive problems

Many of us have digestive problems that can be alleviated by changes in diet. However, not all of these symptoms are related to food. Some of them are:
  • Dyspepsia (digestion disorder that appears after meals and whose most frequent symptoms are nausea, heaviness and stomach pain, burning and flatulence)
  • Swelling and nausea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Pelvic pain
  • Esophageal dysmotility
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (as a superimposed condition)
  • Allergies or food insensibilities, including gluten
  • Frequent urination
  • Irritable bladder, possibly interstitial cystitis (as a superimposed condition)
  • Difficulty to swallow

Emotional problems

The presence of emotional symptoms does not mean that fibromyalgia is a psychological condition. They may be due, at least in part, to the neurological nature of FM, which includes the deregulation of certain neurotransmitters. Some symptoms, such as depression, are common among people with chronic diseases in general. Some symptoms are:
  • Depression (as a superimposed condition)
  • Tendency to cry easily
  • Anxiety / panic attacks, often triggered by sensory overload or disorientation
  • Floating anxiety (not associated with situation or object)
  • Humor changes
  • Unexplained irritability

Problems related to the Heart

Although these sound frightening, we have no evidence to suggest that heart disease is common in FM. Never assume that the symptoms related to the heart are precisely because of your fibromyalgia. Be sure to tell your doctor, any new symptoms or changes, immediately. Some could be:
  • Prolapse of the mitral valve (as a superimposed condition)
  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia or postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) (as a superimposed condition)
  • Pain that looks like a heart attack, often due to costochondritis (as a superimposed condition)

Problems with Skin / Hair / Nails

Yes, fibromyalgia affects you from your hair to the nails of your feet, literally! Some examples are:
  • Nail ridges pronounced
  • Nails that curve under
  • Bruises or scars easily
  • Hair loss (temporary)
  • Excessive tissue growth (noncancerous tumors called lipomas, ingrown hairs, heavy and dividing cuticles, adhesions, skin marks)

Some of the symptoms described here are superimposed conditions, which means that they commonly occur on a par with FM, but in reality they are additional conditions that need to be diagnosed and treated separately. Some of these are not usually detailed in medical texts but are usually mentioned by people with FM.

When you have FM, you may have a combination of symptoms and in varying degrees of severity; and its mixture of symptoms and intensity can also change over time. Some people have fairly constant levels of symptoms, but many of us experience seizures and remissions (periods of reduced symptoms).
You do not need to have all the symptoms that we have detailed, to be able to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia, but you can have any combination of them and at various levels of intensity. However, many of these symptoms also correspond to other health problems (usually chronic or immunodeficient diseases), which is why, before making a diagnosis of FM, your doctor must rule out other medical conditions.
Some words of encouragement
The FM can be better managed by a more complete evaluation of the symptoms of each patient individually, since the conditions of each person are different in terms of: pain intensity, social support factor, physical function, psychological aspect and the set of clinical symptoms and profile of medication and therapy you are receiving.

 

Do not feel overwhelmed. Try to look at this list as a convenience, since it helps you to detect all those symptoms or sensations that concern us and make us think that we are the only ones who feel these things, when in reality, they all have a common cause, they can be attended to , control yourself or learn to cope if necessary … and you also know that you are not alone.

A thousand blessings to all!

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