Estimates place the number of people in the United States who have fibromyalgia at 4 million, and the reason why we can only work with estimates is that the disorder can be difficult to diagnose. There’s no single test that can confirm fibromyalgia, which leaves us to thoroughly review your symptoms and eliminate other potential causes.
To help narrow down the possibilities behind your symptoms, the team here at Summit Pain Alliance pulled together a list of the six most commonly reported side effects of fibromyalgia. Please bear in mind that many of the symptoms we’re going to describe below are shared with other medical issues, which is why obtaining the correct diagnosis with our team is paramount.
1. Widespread pain
At its core, fibromyalgia is a condition in which your perception of pain is amplified, which means that widespread pain is typically the chief complaint. The pain often affects your entire body as widespread pain. It can occur on either side of your body and in your upper and lower body.
Most people describe the pain as a dull and constant ache, though you may go through periods when the pain flares more. This pain is also often accompanied by stiffness.
Another hallmark of fibromyalgia is fatigue and excessive tiredness. The fatigue can be strong enough that you’re unable to function normally. One of the primary drivers behind the fatigue is an inability to get a good night’s rest thanks to the pain. That said, some people report that they feel tired even after sleeping well.
3. Cognitive difficulties
People with fibromyalgia often refer to this symptom as “fibro fog.” This side effect of fibromyalgia affects your memory, your ability to concentrate, and your ability to think.
4. Head pain
Another chief complaint with fibromyalgia is frequent head pain, which can often take the form of migraines, tension headaches, and more. As well, people with fibromyalgia are more prone to developing temporomandibular joint syndrome — a painful condition that affects the tiny joints on either side of your jaw.
5. Digestive issues
While we’re unclear as to the direct connection, people with fibromyalgia often experience gastrointestinal problems, such as abdominal pain, bloating, and constipation. As well, people with fibromyalgia are more vulnerable to developing irritable bowel syndrome.
6. Mental health issues
Due to the many unpleasant symptoms that come with fibromyalgia, depression and anxiety are prevalent issues among people with the disorder. There are many reasons why your mental health can decline when you have a condition like fibromyalgia, not the least of which is the constant discomfort and the loss of quality of life as a result.
If the above list is checking a lot of boxes for you, we urge you to make an appointment at one of our locations in Petaluma or Santa Rosa, California. Whether we find fibromyalgia or another underlying issue, our primary goal is to help you find relief.