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Signs and Symptoms

There are many variable signs and symptoms associated with fibromyalgia, but the condition almost always starts with:

  • Chronic widespread pain
  • Pain upon pressure in particular areas called "tender points"
  • Some degree of chronic fatigue and interrupted sleep

Other common symptoms include:

  • Body stiffness, especially in the morning and with prolonged sitting
  • Depression and anxiety (may coexist)
  • Difficulty concentrating, memory lapses
  • Headaches
  • Painful menstruation
  • Parasthesia (numbness and tingling in hands and feet)

Those affected may also experience one or more of the following:

  • Chest pain, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dizziness, balance problems
  • Dry eyes, difficulty focusing
  • Dry mouth
  • Gas and cramping, abdominal pain
  • Heartburn
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Itchy, dry, or blotchy skin
  • Localized edema (such as swollen fingers)
  • Neurally mediated hypotension (blood pressure that lowers when standing)
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Pelvic pain
  • Restless legs syndrome and periodic limb movement during sleep
  • Rhinitis consisting of nasal congestion/discharge and sinus pain (but no allergic immune response)
  • Sensitivity to light, sound, touch, temperature, and odors
  • Sensitivity to medications (more likely to have side effects)
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD), pain in jaw joints and surrounding muscles
  • Urinary frequency, urge, and irritation

Fibromyalgia can and does co-exist with many other chronic illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Sjögren syndrome, thyroid disease, multiple sclerosis, and lupus. The symptoms of these conditions may be mingled with those associated with fibromyalgia, making diagnosis more of a challenge.

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