Pain (Sensitivity, Myofacial Pain & Neuropathic Pain)
Problems (Insomnia, Sleep Apnoea, Restless Leg Syndrome)
Extreme Sensitivity (To pain, Light, Heat, Skin problems & Allergies)
Stiffness (Morning Stiffness)
Fatigue (Tiredness & Lack of Enerygy)
Cognitive Problems (Fibro Fog)
Headaches
Digestive Disorders
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Depression

There are many other symptoms which can be attributed to Fibromyalgia too and often people with Fibromyalgia have other medical complaints. For example I have found sites claiming 100 symptoms of Fibromyalgia.

Pain

Pain seems to be the main symptom that forces a diagnosis. It is usually the symptom that you just can not put up with all the time and be expected to function properly. It’s important that any pain or any new pain is investigated by a doctor, even if you have fibromyalgia you need to make sure that it’s not down to something new.

Chronic pain is simply pain which has been present for a long time (usually 12 weeks or more), or pain that persists even if the cause has been removed, for example, pain that continues after an injury has healed. The opposite of chronic pain is acute pain, this is usually in response to an injury, and lasts until the injury is healed. It is very important to know this difference between chronic and acute pain, as you will find the type of pain you have, easier to explain to medical professionals.

Chronic pain is a symptom of Fibromyalgia, Often patients report that their Fibromyalgia started as a result of injury, trauma or a particularly bad infections. There are many different types of pain and I will talk about the more common types later on. Chronic pain can be hard to manage, as most medicines used to treat pain become less effective the more they are used and in some cases the body can become dependent upon them. It is therefore advisable to take a few different measures to combat chronic pain at the same time and ensure that you body is in the best condition you can within your ability.

Myofacial pain is a pain syndrome within the category of chronic pain. When pressure is applied to sensitive points in your muscles (trigger points) it causes pain in seemingly unrelated parts of your body (referred pain). It affects the fascia (connective tissue that covers the muscles) of the muscle and causes the bands of the muscle fibres to respond to the trauma or abnormal stress by tightening. This impairs local circulation leading to the accumulation of metabolic waste products and further tightening occurs. This, then, becomes a vicious cycle.

Myofascial pain syndrome typically occurs after a muscle has been contracted repetitively. This can be caused by repetitive motions used in jobs or hobbies or by stress-related muscle tension.
While nearly everyone has experienced muscle tension pain, the discomfort associated with myofascial pain syndrome persists or worsens. I suffer very badly with myofascial pain and it often occurs with a small amount of repetitive function, as a result of a cold draft or breeze, or by reasons unknown. The best treatment comes in the form of a physiotherapist trained in trigger point therapy. Other options include TENS, trigger point injections, pain medications and relaxation techniques.

To diagnose myofascial pain syndrome a doctor would need to examine you and your medical history and find a consistent and characteristic referred pain pattern, focal twitch responses in the taut bands of involved muscles, a limited range of motion and weakness without atrophy (tissue waste). Dept. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA IRVINE, and KATELLA PAIN CONTROL MEDICAL CLINIC

Neuropathic pain is a symptom that develops as a result of damage to, or dysfunction of, the nervous system. It may be caused by a wide range of conditions effecting the peripheral nervous system or the central nervous system. Neuropathic pain can be constant or intermittent, and be spontaneous or provoked. This pain is typically described as shooting, stabbing, like an electric shock, burning, tingling, tight, numb, prickling or itching. It can occur as pain from a stimulus that should not normally be painfully, or severe pain from a stimulus that should normally only be slightly painful. As you can see it is very difficult to specifically define Neuropathic pain, recognise it, or describe it and as such the definition is often different, depending upon who you speak to.

Sleep problems

This is one of the main characteristics of Fibromyalgia and probably the one issue that causes most of our problems. Patients with Fibromyalgia have problems getting a controlled amount of sleep. They feel unrestored when they wake and this is mainly due to Insomnia or Sleep Apnoea.

Insomnia is difficulty falling asleep, waking up during the night, waking up early in the morning, feeling irritable and tired, finding it difficult to function during the day and any combination of these factors. I suffer badly from insomnia. I find it very hard to get to sleep. Once I am asleep I’m not usually too bad but I could fall asleep at any time of the day. My sleep pattern is often all over the place and completely uncontrolled. Insomnia will lead to you being more sensitive to pain, being depressed and can seriously hamper memory and cognitive function, which leads to “fibro fog.”

Obstructive sleep apnoea/hypopnoea syndrome (OSAHS) is the coexistence of excessive daytime sleepiness with irregular breathing at night. Irregular breathing results from the upper airway collapsing during sleep. Collapse of the airways can be partial (hypopnoea) or complete (apnoea), leading to a transient arousal from deep sleep to wakefulness or a lighter sleep phase, which allows restoration of normal airway muscular tone. OSAHS represents one end of a spectrum from normal breathing through snoring to hypopnoea and apnoea. The term obstructive sleep apnoea/hypopnoea (OSAH) is used to describe people with irregular breathing at night, but without daytime sleepiness. OSAH is more common than OSAHS but is less likely to be seen in primary care, as people will not usually present to their GP for this. Obstructive sleep apnoea/hypopnoea syndrome affects all age groups, with the highest incidence between 30 and 60 years of age (4% of middle-aged men and 2% of middle-aged women)

Restless Leg Syndrome is a neurological motor disorder characterized by an irresistible urge to move the limbs (usually the legs) accompanied by uncomfortable sensations.
The underlying cause of RLS is not fully understood, although it is likely that there is involvement of the dopaminergic system and depletion of iron stores (thought to be due to a defect in iron transport or storage) Restless Leg Syndrom (RLS) is also known as Ekbom’s syndrome.

Extreme Sensitivity

Fibromyalgia can cause you to become extremely sensitive to pain all over your body, and you may find that even the slightest touch is very painful. If you hurt yourself, for example if you stub your toe, you may find that the pain continues for much longer than it normally would. You may hear this described in the following medical terms: hyperalgesia – when you are extremely sensitive to pain or allodynia – when you feel pain from something that should not be painful at all, such as a very light touch. If you have fibromyalgia, you may find you are very sensitive to other things as well, such as smoke, certain foods and bright lights. Being exposed to something you are sensitive to can cause your other fibromyalgia symptoms to flare up.

Depression

Depression is probably one of the more obvious symptoms, if you spend your day with the rest of the symptoms on this page then your probably going to be a little down about it. When this is the same day after day your going to slip into depression quite easily. Experiments have also shown that a person given painfully stimulus throughout the day will have elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their blood. It is also worth mentioning that other symptoms of Fibromyalgia have been shown to increase cortisol levels such as problems with sleep and sleep deprivation.

Living with Fibromyalgia on a daily basis is a great struggle. People may no longer be able to take part in more active hobbies that they used to rely on to hell relive life’s stress. When you have Fibromyalgia and analyse what you spend your time doing you quickly realise if you work that work is taking the vast majority of your active time as you have to spend more time being inactive and resting. There quickly becomes a problem with the work/life balance of patients whose Fibromyalgia is not stable. This means you can quickly find yourself living to work and unable to spend any time on interests and hobbies, less time exercising, less time with friends & family and with partners and children. I would defy anyone having to reduce the amount of time on these activities without feeling some signs of depression.

There are people out there who like to say Fibromyalgia is caused by stress or depression and the symptoms of it were present before Fibromyalgia was diagnosed. I’m not sure about these opinions for a variety of reasons and what doesn’t help is that symptoms of depression and Fibromyalgia can be similar yet depression is diagnosed far more easily and quickly than Fibromyalgia. There are also questions research has thrown up about Fibromyalgia and things like a lack of Serotonin in patients and other reasons to suggest pain and depression are linked together far more than we realise in the human body. A lot of things said to be increased or decreased in Fibromyalgia could explain both pain sensitivity and depression in the body and a lot of the medications used to treat pain in Fibromyalgia patients are antidepressants in there own right.

To be continued……….