Fibromyalgia Symptoms and Associated Syndromes
"List of Fibromyalgia Symptoms and Associated Syndromes, Apart From General Pain and Fatigue" Go to a Valued Guest's Article..."Living With Pain" and also... "Fibromyalgia...A Man's Perspective Fibromyalgia is a complex, chronic disorder which causes widespread pain and fatigue usually accompanied by a variety of other symptoms. Few symptoms are outwardly visible, which has led to much confusion. Sometimes FM has been called "the invisible disibility". Fibromyalgia pain usually consists of diffuse aching or burning described as "head-to-toe". I know personally that many times I could only explain and describe my pain to my physicians as a feeling as if my entire body was [ON FIRE]! Not like a sunburn or surface irritation, but a deep down, in the muscles, bones and joints type burning! I feel it is very important that we be as descriptive as possible when discussing our pains and symptoms with our doctors. Doing this can help the physician to better ascertain our condition and possibly uncover any hidden serious illnesses that we have brushed off as fibromyalgia. It is important to note that these fibromyalgia symptoms will and do vary in intensity and duration from person to person. As a result, the effect of fibromyalgia symptoms on our quality of life is also different for each of us who have to contend with this disorder. Stiffness: Body stiffness may be particularly apparent upon awakening and after prolonged periods of sitting or standing in one position or coincide with changes in temperature or relative humidity Increased Headaches Or Facial Pain: Fibromyalgia patients may experience frequent migraine, tension, or vascular headaches. Pain may also consist of referred pain to the temporal area (temples) or behind the eyes. Approximately one-third of patients with fibromyalgia are thought to have pain and dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, (located where the jaw meets the ear) which produces not only headaches but also jaw and facial pain. Sleep Disturbances: Despite sufficient amounts of sleep, FMS patients may awaken feeling non-refreshed, as if they have barely slept. Alternatively, they may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Some also suffer from the condition, sleep apnea. The reasons for the non-restorative sleep and other sleep difficulties of fibromyalgia are unknown. Gastrointestinal Complaints: Digestive disturbances, abdominal pain, and bloating are quite common in FMS as are constipation and/or diarrhea (also known as "irritable bowel syndrome" or IBS). Genito-Urinary Problems: FMS patients may experience increased frequency of urination or increased urgency to urinate, typically in the absence of a bladder infection. Women with FMS may have more painful menstrual periods or experience worsening of their FMS symptoms during this time. Conditions such as vulvar vestibulitis or vulvodynia, characterized by a painful vulvar region and painful sexual intercourse, may also develop in women. Paresthesia: Numbness or tingling, particularly, in the hands or feet, sometimes accompanies FMS. Also known as "paresthesia", the sensation can be described as prickling or burning. Temperature Sensitivity: Persons with fibromyalgia tend to be highly sensitive to ambient temperature. Some often feel abnormally cold (compared to others around them) while others feel abnormally warm. An unusual sensitivity to cold in the hands and/or feet, accompanied by color changes in the skin, sometimes occurs in persons with fibromyalgia. This condition is known as "Raynaud's Phenomenon". Skin Complaints: Nagging symptoms, such as itchy, dry, or blotchy skin, may accompany FMS. Dryness of the eyes and mouth is also not uncommon. Additionally, fibromyalgia patients may experience a sensation of swelling, particularly in extremities, like fingers. A common complaint is that a ring no longer fits on a finger. Such swelling, however, is not equivalent to the joint inflammation of arthritis; rather, it is a localized anomaly of FMS whose cause is currently unknown. Chest Symptoms: Individuals with fibromyalgia who engage in activities involving continuous, forward body posture (i.e., typing, sitting at a desk, etc.) often have special problems with chest and upper body pain known as "thoracic pain and dysfunction".1. Often accompanying the pain is shallow breathing and postural problems. Patients may also develop a condition called "costochondralgia" which involves muscle pain where the ribs meet the chest bone. Such conditions may mimic heart disease and are therefore sometimes misdiagnosed. Note: Anyone experiencing chest pain should always consult a physician immediately. [Remember that persons with fibromyalgia can have other health problems!] Dysequilibrium: FMS patients may be troubled by light-headedness and/or balance problems which manifest themselves in a number of ways. Cognitive Disorders: Persons with FMS report a number of cognitive symptoms which tend to vary from day to day. These include difficulty concentrating, "spaciness," short-term memory lapses, and being overwhelmed easily. Many fibromyalgia patients refer to such symptoms as "fibro-fog". Leg Sensations: Some FMS patients may develop a neurological disorder known as "restless legs syndrome" (RLS) which involves an irresistible urge to move the legs particularly when at rest or when lying down. One recent study reported that 31% of the fibromyalgia patients studied had RLS.6 The syndrome may also involve periodic limb movements during sleep (PLMS) which can be very disruptive to both the patient and to his/her sleeping partner. Environmental Sensitivity: Hypersensitivity to light, noise, odors, and weather patterns is common and is usually explained as being a result of the hyper-vigilance seen in the nervous systems of patients with FMS. Allergic-like reactions to a variety of substances (i.e., medications, chemicals, food additives, pollutants, etc.) are common, and patients may also experience a form of non-allergic rhinitis consisting of nasal congestion/discharge and sinus pain, but in the absence of the immunologic reactions which the body experiences in allergic conditions. Depression and Anxiety: Although FMS patients are frequently misdiagnosed with depression or anxiety disorders ["it's all in your head"], research has repeatedly shown that fibromyalgia is not a form of depression or hypochondriasis. However, where depression or anxiety exist concomitant to fibromyalgia, their treatment is important as both can exacerbate FMS and interfere with successful symptom management.