Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
The classic symptoms of fibromyalgia – widespread muscle and joint pain, fatigue, sleep problems, and difficulty concentrating aren’t very distinctive, therefore the condition is often misdiagnosed and misunderstood.
Less well-known symptoms of fibromyalgia include irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, menstrual problems, jaw issues, and hypersensitivity to noises and light.
You may not have all the symptoms, and you may have other medical problems, too.
Since there are no lab or imaging tests for it, when you go to get a diagnosis, your doctor will ask about your symptoms to decide if you have fibromyalgia. The process of determining the cause of a patient’s symptoms when other conditions have similar features is called a differential diagnosis.
Tracking your symptoms
To make sure no symptoms are forgotten when meeting with the doctor, it’s important to keep a daily log including this information may be helpful:
- Sleep duration and quality
- Pain levels during the day and at bedtime
- Medications taken and the effect on symptom(s)
- Supplements taken and the effect on symptom(s)
- Exercise and pain increase or decrease afterward
- Foods eaten and any problems afterward
- Any psychological treatments used, such as visualization or cognitive behaviour therapy, and the results
- Any massage or other therapies and the results
- Pain levels
- Fatigue levels
Pain and Tender Points
Almost all people with fibromyalgia ache all over. It can feel similar to osteoarthritis, bursitis, and tendinitis, but it’s over your entire body. This is usually what makes people visit the doctor.
The importance of getting treatment
If left untreated, chronic pain could cause permanent changes in how the body perceives pain. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to prevent further disruptions in the body’s pain-signalling system. The good news? Swedish research suggests that the earlier fibromyalgia pain is treated, the greater the chances that you’ll respond to certain drug treatments.
This information is a guideline only. Please contact your GP if you are feeling unwell.