«
»

Top

Fibromyalgia: First signs of the disease

Published Jan 22, 2023 • By Rahul Roy

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease that is accompanied by persistent pain, immense fatigue and unsettling sleep, among many other symptoms. It can have a significant impact on the life of a patient – both on the professional and personal side. Sometimes these symptoms can be difficult to diagnose due to their varying nature. 

What is fibromyalgia? Why does it occur? What are the first signs of the disease? What precautionary measures can be taken to address these symptoms? 
 
We explain all and more in this article! 

Fibromyalgia: First signs of the disease

What is fibromyalgia?  

Fibromyalgia affects nearly 4 million US adults or about 2% of the US population.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes widespread pain and tenderness all over the body, bringing with it fatigue, sleep disorders, memory disorders and mental distress. 

It is a disease that can be difficult to diagnose at times since it does not pop up immediately on tests and also has an expansive list of symptoms that can be confusing. The treatments recommended may depend on the severity of the disease as well as on the individual. This is why, healthcare professionals need to be properly trained and the public properly educated, so that appropriate treatment and action can be provided. 

It is important to note that, while fibromyalgia will not endanger the life of a patient, it can still be extremely debilitating. Its symptoms can have a significant impact on the daily life of a patient and that is why the early recognition of these symptoms is crucial. 

What causes fibromyalgia? 

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact reason for fibromyalgia development, but hereditary disposition and chemical reactions in the nervous system are claimed to play a role, although more research is needed to verify these claims. 

A person suffering from Lupus or Rheumatoid Arthritis is more likely to develop fibromyalgia than a normal person according to the CDC. Traumatic events like accidents that can cause PTSD have also been mentioned as risk factors, along with repeated injuries and obesity. But the fact of the matter remains that in general, the cause of the disease is unknown. 

Although most people are diagnosed during middle age between 25 and 55, this disease can also develop in children and older adults. It affects more women than men and in fact, 90% of fibromyalgia sufferers are said to be women. Hormones are said to have an impact on developing fibromyalgia, although exact reasons why remain unclear

What are the first Symptoms of Fibromyalgia? 

Fibromyalgia has a wide range of symptoms that vary from person to person. Pain is a common theme regardless of the person, and an early diagnosis can help manage the condition better. The early symptoms that may signal the presence of fibromyalgia are – 

Widespread Pain 

The most prominent feature of fibromyalgia is pain that affects the muscles and ligaments. The most common body points affected include - but are not limited to - the neck, shoulders, backs and hips. The pain can be described as a constant ache that lingers for more than 3 months and it could get better or worse at different time intervals.  

Intense Fatigue

Another common component of fibromyalgia is intense fatigue that can seriously hamper the daily life of a sufferer. The range of severity can range from mild to severe depending on the individual and in its most severe state, can limit a person from doing his/her job. A person may feel tired and devoid of energy, sometimes even feeling like he/she has a flu-like illness. 

Disturbed sleep pattern 

Fibromyalgia can negatively impact the quality of sleep and patients may often wake up feeling tired, disoriented and restless. They may find it difficult to get out of bed and this type of disturbed sleep can be described as non-restorative sleep. 

Cognitive Issues 

Commonly referred to as “fibro fog”, these problems impact the thinking and learning capacity of a patient. He/she may find it difficult to concentrate and pay attention, losing focus on mental tasks. Memory may seem spotty and speech can feel like it is impaired or slowed

Headaches 

Persistent headaches that can range from mild headaches to severe migraines are another early symptom. Most headaches are not a sign of something serious and tend to go away on their own, but when they are constantly popping up, it may be time to visit the doctor. 

There are other symptoms like tenderness to touch, numbness in body parts, depression and digestive problems, but they usually turn up in advanced stages of the disease, although it depends on the individual once again.

How to manage the symptoms of fibromyalgia? 

As soon as these symptoms arise, the best course of action would be to visit a health professional, to get the personalized treatment that this disease entails. 

It is important to understand that there is no cure for fibromyalgia but there are treatments that help better manage the symptoms such as- 

  • Prescription drugs, as prescribed by the doctor that help to reduce the pain and improves sleep. The most commonly prescribed medications for fibromyalgia are pain relievers, anti-depressants and anti-seizure drugs
  • Therapy can help a patient better understand himself as well as the disease. There are plenty of therapeutic options available that can be personalized to suit the individual such as physical therapy to improve strength and flexibility, occupational therapy to help the body during work and counselling to build up mental resolve. These also include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). 
  • Stress management practices such as yoga, meditation, tai chi and massages help manage the pain in stressful situations. 
  • Adjusting sleep schedule to get the maximum rest, which may include speaking to sleep specialists to address sleep disorders. 

Final Words 

If you think you have some of these symptoms, do not hesitate to get a medical appointment. Try to be as precise as possible with the doctor when providing the information and follow the instructions as prescribed by the doctor. 

If indeed you are diagnosed with fibromyalgia, do not be alarmed but try to understand the best treatment plans to manage the symptoms. Ultimately, fibromyalgia is not a fatal disease but an early awareness leading to an early diagnosis will help to better manage it. So don’t gamble on your pain, go to the doctor again! 


Did you like this article?   

   
Click on "Like" or share your feelings and questions with the community in the comments below!   

   
Take care of yourself!   

avatar Rahul Roy

Author: Rahul Roy, Health Writer

Rahul is a content creator at Carenity, specialised in health writing. Rahul is pursuing his masters in management from EDHEC Business School and in his spare time loves to play football and listen to music.

>> Learn more

Comments

You will also like

Waking up with fibromyalgia and non-disabling arthritis

Fibromyalgia

Waking up with fibromyalgia and non-disabling arthritis

See the testimonial
Alternative Medicine And Therapies For Pain

Fibromyalgia

Alternative Medicine And Therapies For Pain

Read the article
How does fibromyalgia affect the eyes?

Fibromyalgia

How does fibromyalgia affect the eyes?

Read the article
How does fibromyalgia affect mental health?

Fibromyalgia

How does fibromyalgia affect mental health?

Read the article

Most commented discussions

Fact sheet