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Fibromyalgia Symptoms

The main fibromyalgia signs and symptoms include deep muscle pain, painful tender points, and morning stiffness. Other major symptoms of fibromyalgia include sleep problems, fatigue, and anxiety. In order to make an accurate diagnosis, your doctor will need to review your symptoms and signs of fibromyalgia.

What Are the Common Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?

Common symptoms of fibromyalgia -- also known as fibromyalgia syndrome or FMS -- may include:

  • Pain
  • Anxiety
  • Concentration and memory problems -- known as "fibro fog"
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Morning stiffness
  • Painful menstrual cramps
  • Sleep problems
  • Numbness, and tingling in hands, arms, feet, and legs
  • Tender points
  • Urinary symptoms, such as pain or frequency

Is Pain the Most Common Symptom of Fibromyalgia?

Yes. Widespread pain is characteristic of almost all people with fibromyalgia. In fact, pain is usually what forces a person with fibromyalgia to see his or her doctor.

Unlike the joint pain of osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia pain is felt over the entire body. The pain can be a deep, sharp, dull, throbbing, or aching, and it is pain that's felt in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around the joints. The Arthritis Foundation describes the muscle and tissue pain as tender, aching, throbbing, sore, burning, and gnawing.

For some people with fibromyalgia, the pain comes and goes. The pain also seems to travel throughout the body.

Do Painful Tender Points Accompany Fibromyalgia Pain?

Along with the deep muscle soreness and body aches, people with fibromyalgia may have painful tender points or localized areas of tenderness around their joints that hurt when pressed with a finger. It's the tissue around the muscles and joints rather than the joints themselves that hurts. These tender points are often not areas of deep pain. Instead, they are superficial, located under the surface of the skin.

The location of tender points is not random. They are in predictable places on the body. If you apply pressure to tender points on a person without fibromyalgia, he or she would just feel pressure. For a person with fibromyalgia, pressing the tender points can be extremely painful.

Is Fatigue a Fibromyalgia Symptom?

Next to pain and tender points, fatigue is a major complaint. Fatigue in fibromyalgia refers to a lingering tiredness that is more constant and limiting than what we would usually expect. Some patients complain of being tired even when they should feel rested, such as when they've had enough sleep. Some patients report the fatigue of fibromyalgia as being similar to symptoms of flu. Some compare it to how it feels after working long hours and missing a lot of sleep.

With fibromyalgia, you may feel:

  • Fatigue on arising in the morning
  • Fatigue after mild activity such as grocery shopping or cooking dinner
  • Too fatigued to start a project such as folding clothes or ironing
  • Too fatigued to exercise
  • More fatigued after exercise
  • Too fatigued for sex
  • Too fatigued to function adequately at work

WebMD Medical Reference

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