Thursday, February 2, 2012

Do You Have A Loved One With Fibromyalgia? Here Is Some Helpful Info About What They Are Going Through

100+ Symptoms of Fibromyalgia  
  1. Fatigue, made worse by physical exertion or stress
  2. Activity level decreased to less than 50% of pre-illness activity level
  3. Recurrent flu-like illness
  4. Sore throat
  5. Hoarseness
  6. Tender or swollen lymph nodes (glands), especially in neck and underarms
  7. Shortness of breath (air hunger) with little or no exertion
  8. Frequent sighing
  9. Tremor or trembling
  10. Severe nasal allergies (new allergies or worsening of previous allergies)
  11. Cough
  12. Night sweats
  13. Low-grade fevers
  14. Feeling cold often
  15. Feeling hot often
  16. Cold extremities (hands and feet)
  17. Low body temperature (below 97.6)
  18. Low blood pressure (below 110/70)
  19. Heart palpitations
  20. Dryness of eyes and/or mouth
  21. Increased thirst
  22. Symptoms worsened by temperature changes
  23. Symptoms worsened by air travel
  24. Symptoms worsened by stress
  1. Headache
  2. Tender points or trigger points
  3. Muscle pain
  4. Muscle twitching
  5. Muscle weakness
  6. Paralysis or severe weakness of an arm or leg
  7. Joint pain
  8. TMJ syndrome
  9. Chest pain
  1. Lightheadedness; feeling "spaced out"
  2. Inability to think clearly ("brain fog")
  3. Seizures
  4. Seizure-like episodes
  5. Syncope (fainting) or blackouts
  6. Sensation that you might faint
  7. Vertigo or dizziness
  8. Numbness or tingling sensations
  9. Tinnitus (ringing in one or both ears)
  10. Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
  11. Noise intolerance
  1. Feeling spatially disoriented
  2. Dysequilibrium (balance difficulty)
  3. Staggering gait (clumsy walking; bumping into things)
  4. Dropping things frequently
  5. Difficulty judging distances (e.g. when driving; placing objects on surfaces)
  6. "Not quite seeing" what you are looking at
  1. Hypersomnia (excessive sleeping)
  2. Sleep disturbance: unrefreshing or non-restorative sleep 
  3. Sleep disturbance: difficulty falling asleep 
  4. Sleep disturbance: difficulty staying asleep (frequent awakenings) 
  5. Sleep disturbance: vivid or disturbing dreams or nightmares 
  6. Altered sleep/wake schedule (alertness/energy best late at night)
  1. Depressed mood 
  2. Suicidal thoughts
  3. Suicide attempts 
  4. Feeling worthless 
  5. Frequent crying 
  6. Feeling helpless and/or hopeless
  7. Inability to enjoy previously enjoyed activities 
  8. Increased appetite 
  9. Decreased appetite
  10. Anxiety or fear when there is no obvious cause
  11. Panic attacks 
  12. Irritability; overreaction 
  13. Rage attacks: anger outbursts with little or no cause 
  14. Abrupt, unpredictable mood swings 
  15. Phobias (irrational fears) 
  16. Personality changes
  1. Eye pain
  2. Changes in visual acuity (frequent changes in ability to see well) 
  3. Difficulty with accommodation (switching focus from one thing to another) 
  4. Blind spots in vision
  1. Sensitivities to medications (unable to tolerate "normal" dosage)
  2. Sensitivities to odors (e.g., cleaning products, exhaust fumes, colognes, hair sprays) 
  3. Sensitivities to foods
  4. Alcohol intolerance 
  5. Alteration of taste, smell, and/or hearing
  1. Frequent urination 
  2. Painful urination or bladder pain 
  3. Prostate pain 
  4. Impotence 
  5. Endometriosis 
  6. Worsening of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) 
  7. Decreased libido (sex drive)
  1. Stomach ache; abdominal cramps 
  2. Nausea 
  3. Vomiting
  4. Esophageal reflux (heartburn) 
  5. Frequent diarrhea
  6. Frequent constipation 
  7. Bloating; intestinal gas 
  8. Decreased appetite
  9. Increased appetite
  10. Food cravings 
  11. Weight gain 
  12. Weight loss
  1. Rashes or sores 
  2. Eczema or psoriasis
  1. Hair loss 
  2. Mitral valve prolapse
  3. Cancer 
  4. Dental problems 
  5. Periodontal (gum) disease 
  6. Aphthous ulcers (canker sores)
  1. Difficulty with simple calculations (e.g., balancing checkbook)
  2. Word-finding difficulty 
  3. Using the wrong word 
  4. Difficulty expressing ideas in words
  5. Difficulty moving your mouth to speak 
  6. Slowed speech
  7. Stuttering; stammering 
  8. Impaired ability to concentrate
  9. Easily distracted during a task 
  10. Difficulty paying attention
  11. Difficulty following a conversation when background noise is present 
  12. Losing your train of thought in the middle of a sentence 
  13. Difficulty putting tasks or things in proper sequence 
  14. Losing track in the middle of a task (remembering what to do next) 
  15. Difficulty with short-term memory 
  16. Difficulty with long-term memory 
  17. Forgetting how to do routine things 
  18. Difficulty understanding what you read 
  19. Switching left and right 
  20. Transposition (reversal) of numbers, words and/or letters when you speak 
  21. Transposition (reversal) of numbers, words and/or letters when you write 
  22. Difficulty remembering names of objects 
  23. Difficulty remembering names of people 
  24. Difficulty recognizing faces 
  25. Difficulty following simple written instructions 
  26. Difficulty following complicated written instructions
  27. Difficulty following simple oral (spoken) instructions 
  28. Difficulty following complicated oral (spoken) instructions 
  29. Poor judgment 
  30. Difficulty making decisions 
  31. Difficulty integrating information (putting ideas together to form a complete picture or concept) 
  32. Difficulty following directions while driving 
  33. Becoming lost in familiar locations when driving
  34. Feeling too disoriented to drive
hormonal changes
changes in weather
cold or drafty environment

neurochemical dysfunction
hormonal imbalance
accident or trauma
nutritional deficiency

The information above comes from the website of Dominie Bush. She publishes a Christian-based newsletter about Fibromyalgia (FMS), Chronic Fatigue & Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS) and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.) and shares her thoughts, research and experiences.

Here is the direct link to her site if you would like to explore more info about FMS/CFIDS:

Fibromyalgia Symptoms

The primary symptom of Fibromyalgia is chronic, widespread pain.  This pain is on both the right and left sides of the body as well as both above and below the waist.

This pain can be in the muscles, ligaments, tendons, or it can just be generalized.  It can be described as deep-aching, persistent, stabbing, throbbing, radiating, gnawing, shooting, tingling and/or burning.  It migrates throughout the body, varies in intensity and can be made worse or better with stress, weather, activity or anxiety.  Pain is also felt in at least 11 of 18 tender points (required for Fibromyalgia diagnosis).

Most symptoms of Fibromyalgia can also be caused by other conditions.  It is important to discuss all of your symptoms with your doctor and not to overlook other possible causes.

Specific Fibromyalgia symptoms may include:

Cardio-Vascular System Symptoms
  • Heart Palpitations - This is typically caused by anxiety in FMS and is usually nothing to worry about but should be evaluated by a doctor.

Central Nervous System Symptoms
  • Chronic Headaches or Migraines - People with fibro are more likely to suffer from chronic headaches and/or migraines than the normal population.  Most all fibromyalgia fighter will experience headaches as a symptom.  As many as 60% of FMS fighters suffer constant headaches or migraines.
  • Fibrofog (Cognitive and Memory Problems) - "Affectionately" known as fibrofog, cognitive and memory problems are also common in fibromyalgia.  It can range from mild confusion or trouble concentrating to short term memory loss, forgetfulness, and difficulty communicating.
  • Impaired Memory - 46% of Fibro fighters have trouble with memory.
  • Numbness and Tingling - More than half of fibro fighters report numbness and/or tingling in the arms, legs, feet or hands.

Gastointestinal Symptoms
  • Nausea - Between Up to 70% of fibro fighters say they experience chronic nausea and/or diarrhea.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) - IBS is characterized by hypersensitivity to muscle contractions in the large intestine causing diarrhea and/or constipation, bloating, abdominal pain or cramping, nausea, flatulence, and more.  An estimated 70% of fibro fighters have IBS.

General Symptoms
  • Cold/Allergy Symptoms - Many fibromyalgia fighters experience chronic, non-allergic rhinitis with sneezing, runny nose, and itchy, watery eyes.  
  • Dizziness - Some patients experience chronic dizziness that can last hours, days or longer.  It can cause nausea, headaches, vertigo and fainting.  
  • Exercise Intolerance - Fibro fighters are known to have a hypersensitivity to exercise and can feel worst immediately afterward as opposed to the normal "soreness" experienced by others hours after exercise.  
  • Fatigue - 96% of FMS fighters have moderate to severe, even debilitating fatigue that can last days, weeks, months or even years.
  • Insomnia - As many as 86% of fibromyalgia fighters have difficulty going to sleep, staying asleep or getting restful sleep for at least 1 month. 
  • Malaise - A general unwell feeling. 
  • Mouth Symptoms - Irritation of the tongue and bad, metallic, or scalded taste in the mouth can be a symptom of FMS.  Fibro can also cause difficulty in swallowing. 
  • Skin Symptoms - Most fibromyalgia fighters are plagued with chronically dry, itchy, molted and/or tender skin that sometimes lead to rashes and infections.  Other dermatologic complaints include hives, blotchyness, tiny bumps or blisters, eczema, and more.  FMS can cause the skin to feel electric vibrations, sensitive, stinging, cold or hot, flush (especially with sweating), crawling or prickling.  
  • Sleep Disorders - A very important part of fibromyalgia, sleep disturbance is believed to be linked to the cause of FMS. 
  • Urinary Problems - Bladder spasms, burning during urination, frequent urination, frequent bladder infection, interstitial cystitis, and pungent urine can all be part of fibromyalgia.
  • Vision Problems - FMS fighters sometimes have dry, itchy or burning eyes, and/or blurred vision.
  • Weight Gain - Hormonal imbalances, fatigue, pain, and depression can all lead to weight gain.

Musculoskeletal Symptoms
  • Chest Pain (Costochondritis) - Inflammation in the cartilages that connects the rib cage to the breastbone.  This causes pain that can be both dull/achy and sharp and can mimic a heart attack.  Deep breathing, and coughing can aggravate it.  60-70% of fibromyalgia fighters have costochondritis.
  • Joint Pain - There is no inflammation involved in Fibromyalgia, however as many as 72% of people with fibro may have joint pain.
  • Leg Cramps - Cramping in the muscles of the legs is reported in 42% of people with fibromyalgia.
  • Morning Stiffness  - Stiffness in the morning is a common complaint with FMS.  It usually lasts around 30 minutes but can last hours or even all day.  It can affect range of motion and cause aches and pains all over the body. 
  • Muscle Cramps - Cramps in the legs and feet are common.
  • Muscle Pain - All fibromyalgia fighters have muscle pain.
  • Muscle Twitches - Tiny contractions in muscles can cause tingling or electric feeling, involuntary movements, and sleep disturbance.  Half of FMS patients experience this and/or muscle weakness.
  • Muscle Weakness - True muscle weakness differs from fatigue in that exerting all of your energy does not achieve the desired movement

Psychological Symptoms
  • Anxiety - Everyone feels these feelings of worry, fear, nervousness or apprehension from time to time.  Fibro fighters may experience these feelings more often and they may worsen other symptoms.
  • Depression - Researchers still do not fully understand the relationship between these two conditions.  Most patients will experience depression either as a symptom or in conjunction with fibromyalgia.
  • Irritability - Pain, fatigue, and the stresses of dealing with a chronic condition can lead to irritability.

Related Conditions
  • Chronic Myofascial Pain Syndrome - Fascia is like a web that surrounds the bones, tissues, organs, and blood vessels.  Pain of this type usually begins specific areas of the body known as Myofascial Trigger Points that develop throughout the body where the fascia comes in contact with a muscle. These trigger points are areas of extreme tenderness, and sensitivity that form in bands of muscle underneath your skin.  They differ from the tender points found in fibromyalgia is that trigger points can be felt beneath the skin causing pain and muscle twitching.   Fibromyalgia can cause myofascial trigger points to form.
  • Hypoglycemia - This condition can be triggered or worsened by fibromyalgia, called fibroglycemia.  As many as 40% of women with fibro and 20% of men with fibro suffer this low blood sugar condition.  It can cause sugar cravings, tremors, heart palpitations. sweat, anxiety, panic attacks, faintness, and frontal headaches.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) - IBS is characterized by hypersensitivity to muscle contractions in the large intestine causing diarrhea and/or constipation, bloating, abdominal pain or cramping, nausea, flatulence, and more.  An estimated 70% of fibro fighters have IBS.
  • Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndromes (MCS) - This syndrome is characterized by hypersensitivity to chemicals and/or smells.  It can also cause sensitivity to loud noises, temperature and lights.  MCS can cause a variety of symptoms such as rhinitis, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, migraines, etc.  FMS fighters are at higher risk of MCS than the normal population.  A study found that 50% of Fibro fighters experience sensitivity to odors, noise, bright lights or certain foods.
  • Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) - RLS is a neurological condition in which the patient experiences an irresitible urge to move their legs.  This condition is found in those with fibromyalgia 56% of the time according to a 1990 report.
  • Temperomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) - TMJ is a disorder of the temperomandibular joint (jaw bone).  It also attacks the muscles and cartilage throughout the face and neck causing, popping or clicking (especially when chewing), severe pain, headaches, locked jaw, and more.  It is thought that up to 90% of fibro fighters have TMJ symptoms. 

Reproductive/Sexual Symptoms 
  • Dysmenorrhea - Excruciating pain in your pelvis or abdomen during menstruation can be triggered or worsened by fibromyalgia.
  • Vulvodynia - Evidence suggests that Vulvar Pain Syndrome including vaginal spasms, painful intercourse, and vulvitis (irritation of the lips) may be more common in women with FMS.


Arthritis and Rheumatism. Vol. 33, No. 2 (February 1990)  

The original article can be found here: Fibromyalgia Symptoms

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