Early Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a painful condition that affects about 2 percent of the population or about five million adults.  Many of its victims are woman.  In fact, women have about 7 times the risk of developing the disease.  It can happen at any age but is most common during a person’s middle age.

Early Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Pain – One of the earliest symptoms of fibromyalgia is pain.  The pain is usually located in the muscles, but some people can have joint pain, or pain at specific trigger points in the body.  Pain is usually worse in the morning and gets better throughout the day.

Fatigue – Another early symptom of fibromyalgia is fatigue.  Those who have fibromyalgia will feel tired even when they have had enough sleep and are otherwise rested.  Fatigue can affect the individual’s ability to perform activities of daily living, such as bathing, grooming, and hygiene.

Sleeplessness is commonly experienced by those suffering from fibromyalgia.  They may have difficulty in getting to sleep along with difficulty staying asleep.  While pain can be part of the cause of the insomnia, one can have difficulty sleeping even when the pain is not severe.

Stiffness of the muscles can be an early finding in fibromyalgia. The muscle stiffness is commonly worse when first arising in the morning and gets better through the day.  Gentle stretching exercises done in bed before getting up in the morning can alleviate some of the muscle stiffness.  Joints can feel stiff as well, even though fibromyalgia is not technically considered a joint condition. Joint stiffness comes from a stiffening of the ligaments and tendons near the joints themselves.

Psychological difficulties – Those who suffer from fibromyalgia will also experience psychological difficulties, such as anxiety and depressive symptoms.  They may have difficulty in memory and thinking independent of having anxiety or depression.  These cognitive difficulties are often referred to as “fibro fog”.  No one knows exactly why a person with fibromyalgia will develop cognitive changes, although it may be related to changes in the neurotransmitters in the brain itself.

Headaches – Fibromyalgia patients typically have headaches.  Some have the typical “tension headache”, which feels like a tight band is around the head.  Others will have migraine headaches that interfere with their daily activities.  Migraine headaches usually last a few hours, while tension headaches can last for many days.

Irritable bowel syndrome – The bowels of fibromyalgia patients may become irritable and this can lead to irritable bowel syndrome.  This is a functional bowel condition in which the individual has constipation, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and sometimes diarrhea alternating with constipation.

Numbness of the hands and feet or paresthesias (tingling of the affected area) can be an initial symptom of fibromyalgia.  The numbness and tingling are usually worse in the morning and get better as the day progresses.

Menstrual cramps – Women with fibromyalgia often have severe menstrual cramps and can have heavy periods.  The periods may become closer together, indicating that ovulation has not occurred.  When there is no ovulation, the menstrual period is often heavier and can contain clots.

Any of these symptoms can be the initial symptom of fibromyalgia.  A person with the disease can have just a few symptoms or can develop nearly all of the symptoms as the disease progresses.  Unfortunately, there is no cure for this condition.