How many times have you’ve been told your symptoms are all in your head? Whether explicitly stated or indirectly implied, we’ve all encountered that one person (or in some cases – many persons) who can’t seem to believe that our fibromyalgia is real.
To be fair – we may not look sick – so it may be difficult for others to believe us since the outward signs of suffering aren’t always obvious. While we may not look sick on the outside, below the surface we are suffering physical, mental and emotional pains that are all too real to us.
Another common misconception is that pain is the only symptom of fibromyalgia. The reality is that those of us with fibromyalgia struggle with a variety of other debilitating and uncomfortable symptoms as well. Like the pain – these symptoms are not just “in our heads.” They are real and we often have to cope with many of them on a daily basis. Lets take a look at 25 real symptoms of Fibromyalgia:
While pain isn’t the only symptom of fibromyalgia – it is arguably one of the most debilitating. What many don’t understand is just how widespread the pain from fibromyalgia can be. The National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association describes it as “widespread pain and tenderness to touch that may occur body wide or migrate over the body.”
Symptoms of fibromyalgia pain often include widespread muscle pain, tender joints, achy bones, cramps, stiffness, numbness and tingling. The severity of pain can vary from patient to patient – with some experiencing mild pain and others experiencing more severe pain. Pain and tenderness can also flare-up unexpectedly.
When diagnosing fibromyalgia, doctors use criteria published by the American College of Rheumatology in 2010. Part of these criteria includes 19 different trigger points that are often sources of fibromyalgia pain. Patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia with experience pain in at least 7 different areas.
Energy & Sleep Symptoms:
As if the pain weren’t enough – fibromyalgia also takes its toll on our energy levels and sleep cycles as well. Symptoms might include chronic fatigue, weakness, exhaustion, insomnia and other sleep problems.
Many with fibromyalgia deal with sleep problems like insomnia. Others are able to sleep the entire night but wake up feeling exhausted because their sleep cycles are disrupted throughout the night – preventing their body from entering the stage of deep sleep associated with restoring body tissue and boosting the immune system.
The pain and disruptions in sleep affect the body’s energy levels – leaving us fatigued and feeling weak. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is common among fibromyalgia sufferers. While we may not always look it on the outside – we are often struggling with fatigue and exhaustion but doing our best to keep up.