Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies the way the brain processes pain, often leaving the body’s pain receptors in hype driver. Unfortunately, people with fibromyalgia are more likely than people in the general population to have certain other conditions too. Fibromyalgia patients suffer from many symptoms associated with pain throughout the entire body. Here are the 6 most common symptoms of fibromyalgia.
1. Chronic Headaches: Many fibromyalgia patients report experiencing persistent headaches or migraines, which can be very severe and debilitating. Headache pain usually presents as a feeling of constant pressure or throbbing affecting the cranium and/or the temples.
2. Muscle & Joint Stiffness: Fibromyalgia can also cause feelings of stiffness in muscles and joints. While it’s normal to experience these types of sensations after periods of strenuous physical activity, people with fibromyalgia develop muscle and joint stiffness for no immediately apparent reason. Like fibromyalgia pain, this stiffness can be generalized throughout the body, or it might affect one or more localized muscle or joint groups.
3. Autoimmune diseases: Up to one-quarter of people with inflammatory autoimmune diseases—including rheumatoid arthritis(RA), lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome, and ankylosing spondylitis—also experience fibromyalgia symptoms. The precise nature of this connection is not yet understood.
4. Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder that can cause tummy (abdominal) pain, bloating, and sometimes bouts of diarrhea and/or constipation. Between 30% and 70% of people with fibromyalgia have IBS too.
5. Muscle Stiffness and Pain: From a general standpoint, the muscle stiffness and generalized pain caused by fibromyalgia often cause patients difficulty in passing bowel movements. Over time, impacted fecal matter becomes even more difficult to clear, which can lead to reliance on and overuse of laxatives, which itself can cause further complications.
6. Depression and anxiety: More than half of people with fibromyalgia also experience mental or emotional problems, such as depression and anxiety, at some point in their lives. A deficit of the brain chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine is involved in both mood and pain disorders. For patients, the good news is that fibromyalgia seems to respond well to certain antidepressants. These drugs don’t just help relieve the symptoms of depression, but they also seem to calm down the constant pain, muscle stiffness, muscle spasms and other physiological symptoms of the syndrome.