Many fibromyalgia patients are either misdiagnosed or diagnosed by the process of
elimination. Many are diagnosed after their provider fails to find anything wrong.
Fibromyalgia exhibits several classic signs or symptoms. Following a proper diagnosis,
fibromyalgia treatments can begin and often times, offer relief.
Signs of fibromyalgia are many. The following are the most commonly accepted:
-Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
-Concentration or memory issues (often referred to as “fibro fog”)
-Painful menstrual periods
-Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
I will touch on a few of these signs. It should be remembered that not all signs need
to be present for a fibromyalgia diagnosis.
The most common symptom is widespread, diffuse pain. This characteristic is found in at
least 97% of patients. The pain is felt all over the body and is typically not isolated
to joint, as would be seen in osteoarthritis. The pain may be deep, dull, sharp, or
A common sign of fibromyalgia pain is it comes and goes, sometimes never leaving
completely. The pain often times travel around and throughout the body.
The tender points of fibromyalgia are those which are exacerbated by pressing with a
finger. Thes points are usually around joints, rather than on the joint itself. The
tender points are not randomly distributed and are in predictable regions. Fibromyalgia
victims feel intense pain over these points, whereas a “normal” person may feel nothing
more than pressure.
Another common sign of fibromyalgia syndrome is fatigue. The fatigue associated with
fibromyalgia is usually constant in nature and is more limiting than normal. The fatigue
associated with fibromyalgia is often similar to that of the flu.
Fibromyalgia causes a fatigue first thing in the morning and lasts all day. It is common
during light activity or even normal daily routines. It is often too severe to exercise.
Sleep is another of the common signs of fibromyalgia. Fatigue may make it easy to fall
asleep, but the sleep is often light and easily disturbed.
Fibromyalgia causes a morning stiffness that will often affect the whole back, arms, and
legs. Sometimes this stiffness lasts for a few minutes, and other times, hours.
Another symptom of fibromyalgia is depression. This is found in at least 25% of patients.
Fibromyalgia causes anxiety in may patients. This may be caused by the stress from
constant pain and fatigue.
Fibromyalgia syndrome will often cause numbness, burning, or tingling in the arms or legs.
These signs of fibromyalgia often accompany the morning stiffness.
Urinary frequency or painful urination is also noted in 25% of those suffering from
Significantly painful mestrual cycles may also be a sign of fibromyalgia. This is seen
in 30-40% of women patients.
Irritable bowe syndrome (IBS) and restless leg syndrome are two common signs of
Last, but not least, chronic headaches must be mentioned as one of the more common signs
of fibromyalgia syndrome. About 70% of those suffering from fibromyalgia have a recurrent
migraine or tension headache. This headache may also be the result of pain radiating from
the tight muscles of the neck and upper back.
The information in this article is meant to assist or answer some common questions
associated with fibromyalgia. Consultation with your healthcare provider is recommended
prior to a diagnosis and onset of fibromyalgia treatments.