Individuals who suffer from this condition typically have a lot of pain and tenderness throughout the body. In fact, one of the key signatures of fibromyalgia involves widespread pain that can’t be explained through any other means. Therefore, a fibromyalgia diagnosis is largely accomplished more through a process of elimination than anything else.
There is no definitive test to determine that someone has this disease, at least not at this time. Typically, a person suffers from pain and tenderness that exists all over their body, especially in their joints. They may feel a lot of stiffness in those joints. This typically causes people to visit their physician in order to find the root cause of the problem. More often than not, once every other possibility has been eliminated, a fibromyalgia diagnosis comes into play.
Therefore, a person who has this condition may suffer from it for years before it’s ever diagnosed. This can potentially make the symptoms worse and it might make it harder to get a handle on the disease once a diagnosis has been made.
Is Fibromyalgia Only About Joint Pain?
Unfortunately, as doctors learn more about the disease, they have discovered that there are typically other things involved with a fibromyalgia diagnosis than just joint pain and stiffness. It’s also common to see patients who are affected in different ways. They may have specific flare-ups that involve digestive issues or severe headaches. There’s also a chance that fibromyalgia could adversely impact a person’s emotional and mental health. More will be discussed about these potential issues in the following paragraph.
Signs and Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
As previously mentioned, the most commonly reported symptoms associated with this condition is widespread pain. This typically involves the joints, as discussed in the above paragraph. However, it can involve pain and tenderness in the muscles throughout the body. In addition to this pain, people who suffer from the condition are likely to experience a great deal of fatigue. They may wake up feeling as if they never went to bed, and in many cases, they feel this same level of fatigue regardless of how much rest they get. They may also exhibit cognitive difficulties such as problems concentrating or focusing on one specific task. In fact, this occurs so much that people have given it the nickname “fibro fog” (Mayo Clinic 2020).
For people who are on the outside looking in, this can make people who have fibromyalgia appear disconnected from the rest of the world. They may seem to be less engaged than others, or they may not seem to care about a task as much as other individuals who are involved. The truth is, they may care just as much, if not more. In reality, it may be the disease-causing the problem. This is one of the battles that so many people who have fibromyalgia have come up against. They don’t necessarily appear sick.
Therefore, a lot of people have problems believing that they really are suffering as much as they claim to be suffering. They’re often accused of simply being lazy or not caring as much as they should. The cold, hard truth is that they may be pushing themselves beyond their limits to do their very best, and they are just misunderstood. Constantly pushing themselves may only serve to make the symptoms of the disease worse over time.