What are the symptoms?
Widespread muscle pain and fatigue plague those with fibromyalgia. People affected describe the pain as throbbing, aching, stabbing or shooting in nature. They will often say they 'ache all over'. It's often associated with stiffness, which, like the pain, may be worse first thing in the morning.
Those with the condition may become hypersensitive to pain, finding that even the slightest touch is painful, and that pain lasts longer than would be expected.
Triggers can aggravate the pain and there are many. Common ones include stress, fatigue, changes in the weather and even physical activity.
The tender points that are characteristic of fibromyalgia affect specific parts of the body - the elbows, around the neck, the front of the knees and the hip joints, for example. These are painful in response to the slightest pressure.
In addition to these characteristic symptoms, some people also experience other symptoms including such as difficulty sleeping, headaches, numbness, tingling and depression.
Another problem that those with fibromyalgia may experience is ‘fibro-fog’ which can cause difficulty making decisions, understanding things, and problems with memory and concentration.
Fibromyalgia differs from arthritis because it doesn't cause inflammation or result in damage to the joints or muscles. Most people with fibromyalgia find their symptoms tend to come and go over time, although for some the symptoms are constant.