Fibromyalgia Symptoms Checklist

The Monster List of Fibromyalgia Symptoms

A young woman in pain rests her forehead on clenched fists.
Oliver Rossi/Getty Images

Fibromyalgia can be a bewildering and multi-faceted illness that can impact 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?

Below is a "monster 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!

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

  • heightened experience of pain (hyperalgesia)
  • pain that ranges from mild to severe, may move around the body (See The 7 Types of Fibromyalgia Pain)
  • delayed reactions ("crash") following physical exertion or stressful events

Muscle, Tissue & Joint 

  • jaw pain, possibly from TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder, as an overlapping condition)

Cognitive ("Fibro Fog") & Neurological 

  • difficulty speaking known words, other language impairments (dysphasia)
  • directional disorientation
  • poor balance and coordination
  • dizziness, possible fainting
  • paresthesias in the upper limbs (tingling or burning sensations)
  • short-term memory impairment
  • forgetfulness
  • confusion
  • trouble concentrating
  • difficulty learning new information
  • impaired reading comprehension
  • periodic inability to recognize familiar surroundings

Sensory 

Sinus & Allergy/Respiratory 

  • allergies
  • ringing ears (tinnitus)
  • thick secretions

Sleep-Related 

Reproductive/Sexual 

  • premature menopause
  • loss of sex drive
  • impotence (in men)
  • vulvodynia (as an overlapping condition)

Abdominal & Digestive 

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.

  • 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 

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

Skin, Hair, & Nail 

  • 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)

Miscellaneous 

  • 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 one separately.

Rather than being overwhelmed, 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.

Continue Reading