8 Facts You Probably Don’t Know About Fibromyalgia

Anyone who suffers from fibromyalgia is familiar with the common symptoms—aches and pains, chronic fatigue, brain fog, etc.—but here are some facts about the disease you may not know. We’ve put together this list with help from fibromyalgialiving.today and verywell.com.

Fibromyalgia is the most common pain disorder in the U.S.

It’s been estimated that more than five million people suffer from fibromyalgia in the states, of which 80 percent are women. However, many of these people don’t know it yet. The condition is notoriously difficult to diagnose as the symptoms can mimic many other diseases and many doctors can be dismissive of a patient’s symptoms.

Digestive disorders can be a signal of fibromyalgia. 

It’s estimated that around 70 percent of fibromyalgia patients also suffer from digestive conditions such as IBS, so paying attention to these early warning signs could help you get a faster diagnosis. Changing your diet so you don’t consume food or drinks that upset your stomach can help to ease flares.

Fibromyalgia can cause heightened senses.

We know that pain sensitivity in fibromyalgia patients is heightened, but other senses may also be on high alert. You may find yourself very sensitive to sound, smell, and light, and overly sensitive to touch.

Read our 11 tips on how to improve your life with fibromyalgia. 

Some patients may experience excessive sweating. 

Many fibromyalgia patients react to the body heat caused by pain by sweating profusely. This can be countered by certain medications and if the problem is very bad, botox can be useful.

Vitamin D deficiency is common.

Vitamin D is vital for health and general well-being, so it probably doesn’t come as a surprise to learn that around half of fibromyalgia sufferers have a vitamin D deficiency. Speak to your doctor to check your levels and find out if you need to take supplements.

It’s a psychological and physical disease. 

Most fibromyalgia patients will report psychological symptoms as well as the physical ones such as pain and fatigue. Brain fog is a very common symptom of fibromyalgia, as are depression and anxiety. Brain fog leads to problems with memory, concentration, organizational skills and other cognitive problems.

Our resident columnist, Robin Dix, talks about living with fibromyalgia-related brain fog.

Fibromyalgia is often a secondary condition. 

Fibromyalgia can be a primary health condition but many fibromyalgia patients also suffer from other chronic illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

Not all fibro patients experience the same symptoms. 

There are so many different ways that fibromyalgia can affect a person that patients may suffer a myriad of different symptoms with each having a unique experience of the disease.

Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


      • J.M. Schull says:

        I went through several doctors before I was finally diagnosed. Find a Rheumatologist that is a recent grad or at least in the last 5-10 years. They seem to be a lot more informed about FM. I convinced my family Dr. that something was drastically wrong and I had done enough research that I self-diagnosed FM though I never said it to my Dr. She finally came to that conclusion and decided a Rheumatologist might be able to say for sure.

  1. Alison says:

    What type of medication can control excessive sweating.I don’t go out much anymore because of my sweating, it gets very embarrassing. I am on tramadol for pain but,my doctor has never mentioned anything that could help with this.

    • Anita says:

      I had to stop taking Savella because of excessive sweating. I found the answer on the TV program “Mystery Diagnosis.” It’s an off-label use of a bladder medication, oxybutynin. My doctor prescribed 5mg. at bedtime and 5mg. in the morning. It’s worked wonders.

  2. J.M. Schull says:

    The Tramadol may exacerbate the perspiration problem, everybody is different and except for trigger points symptom vary a lot from person to person.

    • Mary Ann Chase says:

      I haven’t had quite that feeling but I do have tingling and itching which could be described as crawling but I figure it’s a side effect from a med. Can’t stand bangs that go past eyebrows either so I know I’m sensitive. I feel like there is something on my face and neck when there’s not.

      • CYNTHIA PLATT says:

        OMG, I thought it was all in my head, or should I say on my head! The tingling and itching, and the feeling something is on me, and isn’t, can get very annoying. It is not limited to my head though, sometimes I can experience it on other parts of my body.
        Thank you for sharing.

  3. Nick Cooke says:

    People who are ultra rapid metabolisers of tramadol via a generic variant of cytochrome P450 2D6 can get withdrawal sweating as the dose wears off. Can be checked via a DNA test on a buccal swab and almost certainly is cheaper on Australia than the Us. Site is http://www.mydna.com.au I believe. I am going to assume you have tried the anticholinergic meds such as probanthine and oxybutinin. Aluminium trichloride etc topically can help And I also assume someone has tried to sell you expensive Botox which works for a few weeks.
    Simple cheap measure. When you want to reduce your sweating at a given time try paracetamol (Acetominophen in the US I believe) this will slightly lower your core temperature by half a degree and delay the onset of sweating. Worth a try and almost zero cost.Theoretically a topical anti- cholinergic tricyclic cream might help. Eg 5 per cent amitriptyline cream from a compounding pharmacy
    Again worth a trial.
    As ever the old favourites get trotted out daily exercise, low inflammatory diet and weight loss. Patients aren’t so keen on doing these things. Hope this helps. Nick Cooke

  4. colleen mccloskey says:

    my chiropractor , and pain doctor says i have it , but family dr says no , i dont know what to do? i have had 3 back surgerys, on my back, i have degenetrative, arthritis, also deppression, i feel like i wanna jump out of my skin, my pain meds for my back work on my back , but i stil have pain, in my neck , hands, legs, feet, i have brain fog, when in pain, i also have burning and itching in my hands ,what can i do, where do i go?

    • Sharon T Ward says:

      Have you seen a neurologist or rheumatologist yet? They are considered the two most expert specialists to diagnose fibromyalgia, although I would think your pain doctor would be trained to tell if you have it, too. Have your doctors used the trigger point method for diagnosing it? I recently learned that there has been a blood test for fibromyalgia available for 4-5 years, but it costs about $1800 and is not covered by the majority of insurers. How much easier it would be for everyone if that were a more moderate cost that insurers would be willing to cover. Hopefully someday, so patients (and their doctors) won’t have to continue going through this prolonged guessing game. One more thought I have: It’s been said that frequently fibromyalgia has been triggered by an event or trauma, such as an accident (like in my case) or even a psychological trauma, so I’m wondering if your 3 back surgeries could have been your trigger? Keep going until you find out for sure, so you can learn things you can do to manage it. Join a support group for chronic pain & fibromyalgia, if possible, and read all you can about it, including ways you can manage some of the symptoms you have. Much research is going on now to find causes and better treatment options, so there’s hope. Good luck!

  5. Faith Garbrick says:

    I have the same fit pain in my feet and my legs there’s days where I can’t move my leg doctors are having me see a neurologist to see if I have Huntington disease because they checked me for everything and everything came back negative but like you I am on pain pills and you’re right they don’t take complete pain away I mean it comes down to more tolerable but it still hurts

  6. Lois Bartsoff says:

    I have a problem with my arms. For awhile I felt like my arm had a pipe from shoulder to elbow. It was cold and hot at times. Sometimes I couldn’t move my arms. Finally I felt like I had a clamp on my arms like a type of wrench that squeezes, then it changed to like having a rope, a big one that tightens so hard I felt like my arms were going to be squeezed off. I also have the crawlies on my head and between my shoulders, then I can barely have the water in the shower on, It hurts. I use to take opoids, then I wanted to be more normal feeling so I now take Cymbalta, Gabapentin, and Methocarbamol. I was diagnosed with Fibro by a rheumatologist. Cymbalta and Gabapentin were originally given for nerve pain in my knee, after knee replacement. They serve very well for nerve pain, that is fibro. thanks

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