Fibromyalgia (FM) has a wide range of symptoms and overlapping conditions! It is easy to mistake one condition or symptom for another. FM, along with these other related factors, is often misdiagnosed and misunderstood.
FM is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and weakness. The American College of Rheumatology established a guideline for diagnosis in 1990. It is defined by 11 to 18 tender points located throughout the body. When your doctor examines you for FM, he / she will locate these painful little points by touch and reaction to pain. These tender points are mainly found in the muscles around the neck, shoulders, chest, knees, the region around the elbow, and hips.
I was diagnosed in 1995, but lived with FM for many years before I could finally put a name on it. It was a relief, in a way, because my pain and fatigue was finally validated, but I did not know what I was in for. Later on, I realized many other conditions I had been related to FM. The list just kept growing!
FM patients' symptoms can vary in quantity and degree. It is never exactly the same as the next person. You may have one or you may have all (I hope it's the former), but all of the information below pertains to Fibromyalgia.
Aside from the obvious muscle pain and weakness, symptoms of Fibromyalgia include: allergies, disequilibrium (trouble with balance), dizziness, clumsiness, extreme fatigue, sleep starts (falling sensation), insomnia, sleep disorders like apnea, headaches, increased menstrual pain, sensory sensitivity, sensitive skin, itching, histamine reactions like dermographia, morning stiffness, stiffness when walking, mottled skin, carbohydrates cravings (sweets, too), yeast infections (Candida), tissue overgrowth, nail ridges, curved nails, ingrown hairs, easy Scarring, anxiety, stress, cry easily, panic attacks, mood swings, sudden irritability, extreme sweating, more than average infections, shakes or tremors, bruising (more than the average person), weight gain or loss, bruxism (nighttime teeth grinding) , numbness & tingling (Parasthesia), sinusitis, runny nose (frequent), ear pain, trouble swallowing, eye pain, sensitivity to certain materials (clothing, bed linens), heartburn, indigestion, weak grasp, shortness of breath, chest tightness, rapid heartbeat, painful intercourse, impotence, low-back pain, burning feet, dry eyes & mouth, hormonal fluctuations, delayed reactions to over exertion or stress, muscle twitches, swelling, mold & yeast sensitivity, pelvic pain, urinary frequency, abdominal cramps, bloating and nausea.
FM patients are probably familiar with the phrase "fibro fog". It refers to symptoms of FM that relate to cognitive dysfunction: memory problems, difficulty concentrating, words that come out jumbled, trouble making decisions, trouble spelling words you know, scattered thoughts.
If that's not enough, we can add other debilitating disorders, syndromes or illnesses: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Chronic Myofascial Pain (CMP), Migraines (in all forms), Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) ), Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), Interstitial Cystitis (IC) or painful bladder, Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP), Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ), Insulin Resistance (IR), Reactive Hypoglycemia (RHG), Depression and Anxiety.
That's enough to make anyone want to go to bed and stay there! I have had my moments – believe me! Sometimes, it looks unbearable and that I can not take one more second, but I HAVE TO and so do you! Take it day-by-day and make the most of your good days. At the end of a bad one – you can say you made it through another day and tomorrow might be better!
I will continue this article series and will explore all the aspects of Fibromyalgia and all the issues, etc. that come with it.