Fibromyalgia: Signs and Symptoms

Fibromyalgia has many signs and symptoms that can be very debilitating to people who suffer with it.

Fibromyalgia is present in 2-4% of the population and is a chronic long-term condition. They are seen more commonly in women than in men.

There is no single diagnostic test that helps to diagnose Fibromyalgia. However, this complex condition has several signs and symptoms that medical professionals use to help confirm a diagnosis. 

Fibromyalgia is a controversial condition, and there are many widely published truths and myths over the internet. 

Fibromyalgia signs, symptoms and treatment. Fibromyalgia can be debilitating, get the facts and awareness with my symptom list. Free fibromyalgia worksheet available #fibromyalgia #signs #symptoms #treatment #worksheet #free #symptomlist #awareness

What are the causes of Fibromyalgia?

There is still no definite answer on what causes Fibromyalgia. There is some thought that stress, trauma or infection may trigger the cascade of symptoms leading to a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. Infectious agents such as influenza, Epstein-Barr virus, salmonella, shigella bacteria may be linked to the development of Fibromyalgia.

Post-traumatic stress syndrome and significant trauma have been linked to developing Fibromyalgia. Chronic long term stress also has a strong link to developing symptoms of this condition. See my blog post on the effects of chronic stress on your body. 

What are the risk factors for Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is present in 2-4% of the population and is a chronic long-term condition. They are seen more commonly in women than in men. There is no single diagnostic test that helps to diagnose Fibromyalgia. However, this complex condition has several signs and symptoms that medical professionals use to help confirm a diagnosis. 

Fibromyalgia is a controversial condition, and there are many widely published truths and myths over the internet. 

What are the causes of Fibromyalgia?

There is still no definite answer on what causes Fibromyalgia. There is some thought that that stress, trauma or infection may trigger the cascade of symptoms leading to a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. Infectious agents such as influenza, Epstein-Barr virus, salmonella, shigella bacteria may be linked to the development of Fibromyalgia. 

Post-traumatic stress syndrome and significant trauma have been linked to developing Fibromyalgia. Chronic long term stress also has a strong link to developing symptoms of this condition. See my blog post on the effects of chronic stress on your body. Opens in a new tab.

What are the risk factors for getting Fibromyalgia?

Age- Most commonly seen in middle age and that risk increases as we age

Sex- A majority of people with Fibromyalgia are women. The cause of this is unknown. 

Family history- there may be a genetic link, but more research is needed.

Chronic disease- people who already have the chronic auto-immune disease are at higher risk of developing this condition. Conditions as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus are at higher risk Opens in a new tab.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia can be debilitating.

Some of the signs and symptoms of Fibromyalgia include:

  • Certain areas of tenderness
  • Muscle, Joint and bone pain
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sleeping for long periods without feeling refreshed
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Fatigue
  • Dry eyes
  • Bladder problems
  • Inability to focus on tasks
  • Mood swings
  • Painful periods
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

One primary symptom that people with Fibromyalgia suffer with is brain fog.

Also known as fibro-fog, this refers to describe a “cloudy” feeling with thought patterns. This can be one of the most un-nerving symptoms people complain about when they have Fibromyalgia.

This can include:

  • Concentration issues
  • Memory issues
  • Trouble focusing on tasks without being easily distracted
  • Inability to stay alert

Get my free Fibromyalgia worksheet

Healthline (2019)Opens in a new tab.

Leg pain is widespread in Fibromyalgia. Aching, burning, throbbing, tingling numbness and restless leg syndrome is commonly seen. 

Diagnosing Fibromyalgia

Diagnosis may be made if you have had signs and symptoms for more than three months, and have widespread pain. Health professionals will use a process of elimination and will perform tests to exclude other possible conditions.

Fibromyalgia treatments

Fibromyalgia is a long-term chronic condition with no current cure. Treatment strategies revolve around pain management medications, lifestyle changes and relaxation practices. Stress management and an exercise program can help improve symptoms. Cognitive behavioural therapy has shown some promising results. 

Eating a healthy diet is very important for people living with Fibromyalgia. Supporting your body with wholesome foods, healthy foods to encourage good gut flora is very important. See my blog on Foods for good gut health. Opens in a new tab.

Medications for Fibromyalgia

Ibuprofen, antidepressants, gabapentin, Lyrica may be recommended depending on the type and severity of symptoms.

Alternative therapies

Using alternative therapies can be beneficial to improve the quality of life and improve symptoms. Some commonly used treatments used include:

  • Massage 
  • Yoga
  • Physical therapy
  • Medication
  • Acupuncture and acupressure
  • Meditation
  • Reiki 

Take home message

If you feel you have signs and symptoms of Fibromyalgia, see your physician for further investigations. 

If you have already been diagnosed, manage symptoms with medications as ordered by your doctor, participate in a healthy diet and lifestyle, and incorporate alternative therapies to help improve your symptoms.  

My lovely friend over at chronic pain fighter Opens in a new tab.

References

Arthritis Australia. (2020). Fibromyalgia. Retrieved from

https://arthritisaustralia.com.au/types-of-arthritis/fibromyalgia/Opens in a new tab.

Häuser W, Fitzcharles MA. Facts and myths pertaining to Fibromyalgia. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2018;20(1):53-62. Online version available here https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29946212/Opens in a new tab.

Healthline. (2019). Fibromyalgia. Retrieved from

https://www.healthline.com/health/fibromyalgiahttps://www.healthline.com/health/fibromyalgiaOpens in a new tab.

Emilie MASI

Registered Nurse, Masters in Advanced Nursing Practice Graduate Diploma of Wound Care Masters of Wound Care

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