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.
We’re happy to provide information about fibromyalgia and its effects on different body systems.
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.
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.
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 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:
Some people with fibromyalgia also experience urinary tract symptoms such as bladder pain or a frequent urge to urinate.
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.