Fibromyalgia Symptoms Checklist

From Hair Loss to Hemorrhoids

A young woman in pain rests her forehead on clenched fists.
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Fibromyalgia can be a bewildering and multifaceted illness that impacts every part of your life—and your body. You've probably read about symptoms such as pain, fatigue and fibro fog, but the list of possible symptoms is far-reaching and body-wide.

A lot of people think some of the symptoms are so bizarre that they must be the only one who experiences it. Sound familiar? The truth is that millions of other people probably deal with it, too.

Below is "the big list" of 60+ symptoms that'll let you know that you're not alone. Knowing the full range of symptoms can help you track them, either to help your doctor reach a diagnosis or to help you identify triggers. It also helps to know you're not the only person experiencing these, and whether a particular symptom may stem from fibromyalgia or something else.

Some of the "symptoms" are noted as overlapping conditions, which means they commonly occur with fibromyalgia but actually are conditions that need to be diagnosed and treated separately. Some of these aren't generally listed in medical texts but are commonly mentioned by people with the condition.

You do NOT have to have all of these symptoms in order to be diagnosed with this condition. We can have any combination of them and to varying degrees of severity.

Your mix of symptoms may also change over time. Some people have fairly constant levels of symptoms, but many of us experience symptom flares and remissions (periods of reduced symptoms).

Unusual Pain Types

These are the pains that essentially define the condition. They're types that are rare in other diseases and serve as the hallmarks of fibromyalgia.

  • heightened experience of pain (hyperalgesia)
  • "skin" pain, extreme sensitivity to touch or temperature (allodynia)
  • pain that ranges from mild to severe, and may move around the body 
  • nerve pain and abnormal sensations called paresthesias (tingling, burning, itching, shooting, etc.), especially in the arms 

General Symptoms

Some of our symptoms involve multiple systems or are hard to classify, so here they're listed as "general." They're not necessarily the most common. These include:

  • extreme reactions ("crash"), often delayed, following physical exertion or stressful events
  • other family members with fibromyalgia (genetic predisposition)
  • extreme sweating
  • allergies (as an overlapping condition)
  • especially thick mucus
  • hemorrhoids
  • nose bleeds

Muscle/Tissue/Joint

Fibromyalgia isn't a joint disease like arthritis, but it can involve some joint-related symptoms. Most, and possibly all, cases involve symptoms of the soft tissues, including muscles and connective tissues (tendons, ligaments, and fascia.) They include:

Cognitive

Often called "fibro fog," this is one of the more pervasive and disabling set of symptoms, along with pain and fatigue/sleep problems.

Many people report that fibro fog impairs them more than anything else.

Sensory

These are neurological symptoms that are similar to pain, in that the input may be normal, but our brain's response to them is amplified.

These are physiological responses to things in our environment and have nothing to do with us "making a big deal" out of something or "over reacting."

Neurological

We can also have the following neurological symptoms:

Sleep-Related

Sleep problems are almost as central to fibromyalgia as pain. In addition to general sleep dysregulation, we can have an array of sleep disorders.

Reproductive/Sexual

Hormones are believed to play a role in this illness, which may be why these symptoms are common in us.

Abdominal/Digestive

Many of us have digestive problems that may be alleviated by dietary changes. However, not all of these symptoms are related to food.

Emotional

The presence of emotional symptoms does not mean that fibromyalgia is a psychological condition. They may be due, at least in part, to fibromyalgia's neurological nature, which includes neurotransmitter dysregulation. Some, such as depression, are common among people will chronic illness in general.

  • depression (as an overlapping condition)
  • the tendency to cry easily
  • anxiety/panic attacks, often triggered by sensory overload or disorientation
  • free-floating anxiety (not associated with situation or object)
  • mood swings
  • unaccountable irritability

Heart-Related

While these sound scary, we don't have evidence suggesting that heart disease is especially common in fibromyalgia. Never assume that heart-related symptoms are "just" from your fibromyalgia, though! Be sure you discuss any new symptoms or changes with your doctor right away.

  • mitral valve prolapse (as an overlapping condition)
  • irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia or postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) (as an overlapping condition)
  • pain that mimics a heart attack, frequently from costochondritis (as an overlapping condition)

Skin/Hair/Nail

Yes, fibromyalgia gets you from your hair to your toenails, quite literally!

  • pronounced nail ridges
  • nails that curve under
  • bruising or scarring easily
  • hair loss (temporary)
  • tissue overgrowth (non-cancerous tumors called lipomas, ingrown hairs, heavy and splitting cuticles, adhesions, skin tags)

A Word From Verywell

Try not to get overwhelmed! This is a long list and it can be scary to look at it. Keep in mind that many of these symptoms have a relatively small impact or no real impact on your life. Also, treatments often alleviate multiple symptoms, so you don't have to tackle each one separately.

Try to look at this list as a comfort because it helps you see that all of these things have a common cause and you're not the only person who's experiencing them.

Sources:

Campi LB, Jordani PC, Tenan HL, et al. Painful temporomandibular disorders and central sensitization: implications for management-a pilot study. International journal of oral and maillofacial surgery. 2017 Jan;46(1):104-110.

Devin J. Starlanyl. All rights reserved. Fibromyalgia (FMS) and Chronic Myofascial Pain (CMP) For Doctors and Other Health Care Providers.

Gelonch O, Garolera M, Valls J, et al. Executive function in fibromyalgia: comparing subjective and objective measures. Comprehensive psychiatry. 2016 Apr;66:113-22.

Yim YR, Lee KE, Park DJ et al. Identifying fibromyalgia subgroups using cluster analysis: relationships with clinical variables. European journal of pain. 2017 Feb;21(2):374-384.

Zoppi M, Maresca M. Symptoms accompanying fibromyalgia. Reumatismo. 2008 Jul-Sep;60(3):217-20.

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