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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

Are Sleep Disturbances a Common Symptom of Fibromyalgia?

Sleep disturbances are common in the majority of people with fibromyalgia. While people with fibromyalgia may not have difficulty falling asleep, their sleep is light and easily disturbed. Many awaken in the morning feeling exhausted and unrefreshed. These sleep disturbances may help create a constant state of fatigue.

During sleep, individuals with fibromyalgia are constantly interrupted by bursts of brain activity similar to the activity that occurs in the brain when they are awake. Tests in sleep labs done on individuals with fibromyalgia have shown that people with fibromyalgia experience interruptions in deep sleep. These interruptions limit the amount of time they spend in deep sleep. As a result, their body is unable to rejuvenate itself.

Is Morning Stiffness a Common Symptom of Fibromyalgia?

Studies show that most people diagnosed with fibromyalgia feel stiffness in the morning when they get up. The stiffness is extensive -- affecting the muscles and joints of the back, arms, and legs. It makes them feel the need to "loosen up" after getting out of bed before beginning their usual activities.

Some people with fibromyalgia report that the morning stiffness may last only a few minutes, but in general, it is usually very noticeable for more than 15 to 20 minutes each day. In some cases, though, the stiffness lasts for hours, and in others it seems to be present all day.

While most people feel stiff when they first wake up, the stiffness associated with fibromyalgia is much more than simply a minor aching. In fact, people with fibromyalgia have the same feeling of stiffness in the morning that people feel with many types of arthritis, especially rheumatoid or inflammatory arthritis.

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