How Fibromyalgia Affects Your Entire Body

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How Fibromyalgia Affects Your Entire Body

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder, often characterized by widespread pain and fatigue. However, the symptoms go far beyond muscle aches and tiredness. Instead, fibromyalgia can affect multiple body systems, causing a vast array of debilitating symptoms.

Our team at Allergy A.R.T.S. in Amarillo, Texas, a multispecialty practice, includes rheumatology specialists with significant experience in accurately diagnosing and treating fibromyalgia.

We’re happy to provide information about fibromyalgia and its effects on different body systems.

Musculoskeletal system

Fibromyalgia's signature symptom is persistent and widespread muscle pain. The pain can vary from dull yet constant aching to sharp and stabbing to muscle twitching and cramping. Joint pain is also common with fibromyalgia.

These symptoms occur on both sides of the body, above and below the waist. People with fibromyalgia also report specific trigger points that hurt when pressed. This widespread pain is often described as relentless, disrupting daily activities and making sleep impossible.

Symptoms can wax and wane, often triggered by stress, vigorous exercise, or weather changes.

Nervous system

Fibromyalgia can profoundly impact the central nervous system, causing fatigue and cognitive (thinking) difficulties.

Fatigue is another hallmark symptom of fibromyalgia, ranging from feeling tired despite sleeping adequately to extreme exhaustion that makes it difficult to get out of bed.

Cognitive difficulties associated with fibromyalgia, often referred to as “fibro fog,” include problems with focus, memory, and concentration.

These central nervous system symptoms can impact professional performance, personal relationships, and your overall quality of life.

Digestive system

Many people with fibromyalgia also have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This common condition is characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. Other gastrointestinal issues associated with fibromyalgia include acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Sleep and mood regulation

Sleep disorders are common with fibromyalgia. Our patients often report trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or feeling rested upon waking. This chronic sleep deprivation can exacerbate other symptoms, creating a vicious cycle.

Understandably, fibromyalgia is often associated with anxiety and depression, making its impact even more challenging.

Other symptoms associated with fibromyalgia include:

  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Headaches
  • Excess sweating
  • Chest pain
  • Jaw pain

Some people with fibromyalgia also experience urinary tract symptoms such as bladder pain or a frequent urge to urinate.  

Treating fibromyalgia

A crucial step in treating fibromyalgia is making an accurate diagnosis. Our Allergy A.R.T.S. specialists start with a thorough evaluation that includes a careful review of your medical history and symptoms and a physical exam.

Although there aren’t any lab tests to diagnose fibromyalgia, your provider may recommend diagnostic testing to rule out other conditions.

Fibromyalgia treatment strategies are customized to fit your needs and may include medication to ease pain and decrease fatigue. 

Routine physical activity also helps reduce pain. Starting slowly and gradually increasing exercise intensity is crucial in preventing triggering a fibromyalgia flare. 

You may also benefit from stress management with medication, massage, or activities like yoga.

Schedule an evaluation at Allergy A.R.T.S. today for more information about fibromyalgia treatment or other services we offer. Call the office or request an appointment online.