What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a common chronic pain disorder that affects about 10 million people in the U.S. It is also one of the most difficult pain disorders for doctors to diagnose. Different people with fibromyalgia present their symptoms in different ways. Currently, there are no definitive tests to prove whether a patient is suffering from the nerve disorder. However, there are several warning signs of to look out for. If you are experiencing the following fibromyalgia symptoms, discuss them with your doctor.
Video courtesy of Mayoclinic.com
1. Sensitivity to Touch
One of the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia is allodynia, or a sensitivity to touch. If you suffer from allodynia, simple everyday gestures such as a pat on the back or a rub on the arm result in pain. About one-third of people diagnosed with fibromyalgia deal with increased sensitivity and even severe pain in response to touch.
2. Fibro Fog
Fibro fog is another one of distressing fibromyalgia symptoms that sufferers must deal with regularly. This is also simply known as brain fog, a problem that affects even those without fibromyalgia. With fibro fog you might have short-term memory loss, difficulty finding word substitutions, and disorientation that can last up to a minute per episode. Fibro fog has no specific cause. It can often be attributed to several other fibromyalgia signs such as lack of good sleep, low thyroid levels, or even changes in the blood flow to the brain.
Other distressing yet common symptoms of fibromyalgia flare ups are widespread tingling and sensations of burning or numbness. These sensations might be localized to specific areas of your body, or they can happen anywhere. Most people with symptoms of fibromyalgia experience tingling in hands and feet. When you are anxious or don’t get good sleep, the tingling or other sensations generally increase. In addition, these signs can become worse or more frequent at specific times of day, such as first thing in the morning or late at night.
4. Excessive Fatigue
If you deal with fibromyalgia, you likely don’t sleep well. Many sleep disturbances can affect how quickly you get to sleep, how deep you sleep, and how long you sleep each night. With this condition, fatigue is more than just feeling tired regularly. It usually is an all-encompassing exhaustion that eventually interferes with your regular activities and life. There are several reasons you might have excessive fatigue. These include an inability to sleep due to anxiety or pain, or even an imbalance of hormones that makes sleep difficult.
Regular, persistent migraines are one of the common symptoms of fibromyalgia. In many cases these migraines are due to changes in the blood flow to the brain. When the blood vessels providing blood to the brain restrict then expand, it causes migraines. Migraines due to fibromyalgia can also be attributed to hormone changes in the body and might worsen with lack of sleep, depression, and other symptoms.
6. Depression and Anxiety
The stress from the symptoms of fibromyalgia can cause a chain reaction of withdrawal from daily activities and one’s social life. Canceling plans, or not making them at all due to flare ups can cause isolation resulting in depression. Also, not knowing when the next symptoms will occur can create a constant state of anxiety.
Ask Your Doctor about Fibromyalgia
If you are suffering from these symptoms and you regularly deal with widespread pain across your body, talk to your doctor. While diagnosis is difficult, there are treatment options such as pain relievers, physical therapy, and anti-depressant medications. Many benefit from natural remedies such as yoga, acupuncture, and meditation. A definitive diagnosis is not required before taking steps to alleviate painful symptoms.