Chronic Pain, Depression, and Fatigue as Fibromyalgia Symptoms
While the most common fibromyalgia symptom is widespread chronic pain—constant pain that can be aching, burning, or shooting—there are many other symptoms associated with this condition.
Also in this Series
Below are some common fibromyalgia symptoms.
- Anxiety and/or depression: Fibromyalgia pain can affect your mood. For example, you can be anxious and/or depressed.
- Fatigue: You can experience extreme fatigue with fibromyalgia that's with you from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed. This fatigue isn't the typical fatigue or tiredness—it's difficult to shake, even with enough rest and sleep. Severe fatigue can actually intensify fibromyalgia symptoms.
- Sleep problems: With fibromyalgia, it's hard to get deep, restful sleep. But getting quality sleep every night is essential to helping you deal with your pain.
- Tender points: Extreme tenderness is a characteristic symptom of fibromyalgia. Doctors have identified 18 tender points located in specific places on the body, including the neck, back, chest, elbows, hips, and knees. Although they're tiny, these points are incredibly sensitive: Pressing them causes intense pain.
Remember that with fibromyalgia, you can experience a mix of these symptoms. However, you may experience the following symptoms as well:
- difficulty concentrating and/or remembering things—often called "brain fog" or "fibro fog"
- increased pain during and after exercise
- lightheadedness and/or dizziness
- painful menstrual cramps
- sensitivity to light, sound, and/or touch
- stiffness in the morning or when you've been sitting or standing too long
Unfortunately, fibromyalgia is a misunderstood condition. In fact, sometimes it's incorrectly diagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis or another similar pain condition. That's why it's so important to pay close attention to all of your symptoms—even if they're subtle or seem unrelated.
You can keep a daily pain dairy to record your pain and other symptoms. This can help your doctor make the correct diagnosis.
Have a conversation with your doctor if you think you could have fibromyalgia. With proper treatment, you can manage your pain and other fibromyalgia symptoms.