Fibromyalgia Symptoms Checklist

The Monster List!

Tired woman sitting on the edge of bed
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You've probably read about fibromyalgia symptoms such as pain, fatigue and fibro fog, but the list of possible symptoms is far-reaching and body-wide. The tiny symptoms list you find on most sites don't even begin to describe our experience! I put together this "monster list" of 60+ symptoms to let you know that you're not alone! The list is adapted from one put together by fibromyalgia author Devin Starlanyl along with other research.

Knowing the full range of symptoms can help you track them, either to help your doctor reach a diagnosisor to help you identify triggers. It also helps to know you're not the only person experiencing these!

Some of the following are noted as overlapping conditions, which means they commonly occur with fibromyalgia but actually are conditions that need to be diagnosed and treated separately.

We can have any combination of the following symptoms, 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).

General Symptoms

  • Vision changes, including rapidly worsening vision

Muscle & Tissue Symptoms

    Cognitive ("Fibro Fog") & Neurological Symptoms

    • Difficulty speaking known words, other language impairments (dysphasia)
    • Directional disorientation
    • Poor balance and coordination
    • Paresthesias in the upper limbs (tingling or burning sensations)
    • Loss of ability to distinguish some shades of colors
    • Short-term memory impairment
    • Forgetfulness
    • Confusion
    • Trouble concentrating
    • Difficulty learning new information
    • Impaired reading comprehension
    • Staring into space before brain "kicks in"
    • Inability to recognize familiar surroundings

    Sensory Symptoms

    Sinus & Allergy/Respiratory Symptoms

    • Allergies
    • Post nasal drip
    • Runny nose
    • Mold & yeast sensitivity
    • Shortness of breath
    • Earaches & itchy ears
    • Ringing ears (tinnitus)
    • Thick secretions

    Sleep-Related Symptoms

    • Light and/or broken sleep pattern with unrefreshing sleep
    • Fatigue
    • Sleep starts (falling sensations, also called myoclonic jerks)

    Reproductive/Sexual Symptoms

    Abdominal & Digestive Symptoms

    Emotional Symptoms (These do NOT mean that fibromyalgia is a mental illness!)

    • Panic attacks
    • Depression (as an overlapping condition)
    • Tendency to cry easily
    • Free-floating anxiety (not associated with situation or object)
    • Mood swings
    • Unaccountable irritability

    Heart-Related Symptoms

    • Mitral valve prolapse (as an overlapping condition)
    • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) (as an overlapping condition)
    • Pain that mimics heart attack, frequently from costochondritis (as an overlapping condition)

    Skin, Hair & Nail Symptoms

    • Pronounced nail ridges
    • Nails that curve under
    • Mottled skin
    • Bruising or scarring easily
    • Hair loss (temporary)
    • Tissue overgrowth (non-cancerous tumors called lipomas, ingrown hairs, heavy and splitting cuticles, adhesions, skin tags)

    Miscellaneous Symptoms

    • Hemorrhoids
    • Nose bleeds

    Don't be 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 help quiet multiple symptoms, so you don't have to tackle each on separately.

    Rather than being overwhelming, this list can be 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:

    Devin J. Starlanyl. All rights reserved. Fibromyalgia (FMS) and Chronic Myofascial Pain (CMP) For Doctors and Other Health Care Providers. Accessed January 2008.

    Dogru MT, et al. Anatolian journal of cardiology. 2009 Apr;9(2):110-7. Correlations between autonomic dysfunction and circadian changes and arrhythmia prevalence in women with fibromyalgia syndrome.

    Staud R. Current rheumatology reports. 2008 Dec;10(6):463-6. Autonomic dysfunction in fibromyalgia syndrome: postural orthostatic tachycardia.

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

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