Fibromyalgia is a widespread chronic pain syndrome. It occurs most commonly in women 20 to 50 years old. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases estimates that five million people in the U.S. suffer from the condition. Even though it’s so widespread, the cause of fibromyalgia is still unclear, and fibromyalgia symptoms can be just as varied and complex. If you suffer from widespread pain, fatigue, and mental issues, though, you could be experiencing fibro.

A fibromyalgia symptoms list

Fibromyalgia is diagnosed as a syndrome–a collection of signs, symptoms, and medical problems–not just by one marker. The three symptoms that typically lead directly to a diagnosis are:

  • Chronic widespread pain on both sides of the body, and above and below the waist
  • Fatigue
  • Cognitive difficulties

However, fibromyalgia is a complex chronic pain syndrome that affects every aspect of your life. This post will go over all of these symptoms, as well as specific fibromyalgia symptoms in women. A full fibromyalgia symptoms list varies. It could include any of the following 27 fibromyalgia symptoms:

  • Widespread muscle soreness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Tenderness
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Rebound pain
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Excessive gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Painful bladder syndrome
  • Increased sensitivity to pain
  • Pins and needles sensations
  • Increased overall sensitivity to cold and touch
  • Forgetfulness
  • Inability to concentrate, or “fibro fog”
  • Problems with balance and coordination
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Nervous energy
  • Anxiety
  • Emotional sensitivity
  • Increased stress response
  • Sleep disorders
  • Joint stiffness
  • Menstrual pain or changes
  • Increased chance of other health conditions

Knowing these symptoms and if they affect you can help when it comes to diagnosis. It takes years for the average person to be diagnosed. This is because the symptoms of fibromyalgia overlap with many other disorders. The following video gives a bit more information about this pain syndrome. After, read on to learn if you’re suffering from this condition.

Pain symptoms

Pain is one of the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia, and it’s a required component of any diagnosis. But, as EverydayHealth explains:

“Symptoms may fluctuate in intensity, and may improve or worsen over time. Factors such as stress, changes in weather, too much or too little exercise, and too much or too little rest can affect the severity of your symptoms.”

That means that an activity that caused you pain one day might be fine the next, and vice versa. Even so, here’s how fibromyalgia pain symptoms can affect your life.

1. Widespread muscle soreness

The symptom that fibromyalgia is known for is most certainly chronic pain throughout the body. Specifically, the pain has to occur on both sides of your body as well as above and below the waist to be diagnosed as fibromyalgia. The pain can travel to every other part of your body. The intensity of the pain may vary. Fibromyalgia also has the tendency to wax and wane. That means that pain can vary on any given day and even during the same day.

The National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association reports that the following could all affect pain levels:

  • Cold/humid weather
  • Non-restorative sleep
  • Physical and mental fatigue
  • Excessive physical activity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Anxiety
  • Stress

People with fibromyalgia describe their pain as a stiffness or aching starting in specific areas. Fibromyalgia tends to begin in the neck and shoulders area. From there, it spreads out to the rest of the body. It is also common for your pain to feel like it is coming from your joints even though inflammation or swelling is not present. Tender points are also common. These generally produce a sharp pain when touched or pushed.

In order to be diagnosed as a chronic condition, this type pain must be present for at least three months and be unresolved or recurring.

2. Muscle spasms

Muscle spasms are a painful fibro symptom. They can be caused by an irritation as the muscle clenches and unclenches on its own. This can interfere with sleep and daily activity.

3. Headaches or migraines

Headaches are a common symptom of fibromyalgia. Some patients even experience extreme migraine pain. The intense pressure or throbbing from these migraines can extend further down the body into the neck, shoulders, and upper back. These headaches are often triggered by environmental factors such as:

  • Bright lights
  • Loud sounds
  • Powerful smells

These headaches can last for days and may be severe enough to disturb sleep.

4. Rebound pain

When fibromyalgia patients are pain-free, their first instinct may be to jump up and get things done. They may clean their house, meet friends for lunch, then go for a hike in the afternoon with their kids. While these are all wonderful things, the increased activity can mean worse pain later that night or the next day.

5. Tenderness

Doctors diagnose fibromyalgia by 18 tender points on the body. These are symmetrical points located both above and below the waist. Some fibromyalgia sufferers may experience increased tenderness in these areas when a flare-up is imminent. Others may feel these fibromyalgia tender points nearly all of the time.

27 Of The Most Common Fibromyalgia Symptoms | PainDoctor.com

Gastrointestinal symptoms

Many fibromyalgia patients also suffer from gastrointestinal issues.

6. Irritable bowel syndrome

Fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome are closely linked, as pain and stiffness are frequent problems in both conditions. It is quite common for someone to have both of these disorders at the same time. IBS is another chronic pain condition that can lead to:

  • Diarrhea
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Cramping
  • Bloating

7. Nausea

Pain can be so severe as to make a fibromyalgia patient sick to their stomach. This may even cause a change in diet.

8. Constipation

Some of those with IBS experience constipation as their primary manifestation of this syndrome.

9. Excessive gas

Excessive gas can either be a symptom of IBS, or it may occur as a result of dietary changes due to nausea or other causes.

10. Diarrhea

For those fibromyalgia patients who also experience IBS, if they do not suffer from constipation or excessive gas, they may find that their primary symptom of fibromyalgia is diarrhea.

11. Painful bladder syndrome 

Mayo Clinic reports that fibro often coexists with other conditions. These include interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome.

27 Of The Most Common Fibromyalgia Symptoms | PainDoctor.com

Sensory symptoms

One of the strangest effects of fibromyalgia is its distortions of a