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  • PAIN
    The pain of FMS has no boundaries.  People describe the pain as deep muscular aching, throbbing, shooting and stabbing.  Intense burning may also be present, which can feel as though there is acid running through your arteries. Quite often, the pain and stiffness are worse in the morning and you may hurt more in muscle groups that are used repetitively.
    This symptom can be mild in some patients and yet incapacitating in others.  The fatigue has been described as "brain fatigue" in which patients feel totally drained of energy.  Many patients depict this situation by saying that they feel as though their arms and legs are tied to concrete blocks, and they have difficulty concentrating, e.g., brain fog (also known as Fibro Fog).
    Most FMS patients have an associated sleep disorder called the alpha-EEG anomaly.  This condition was uncovered in a sleep lap with the aid of a machine which recorded the brain waves of patients during sleep.  Researchers found that most FMS patients could fall asleep without much trouble, but their deep level (or stage 4) sleep was constantly interrupted by bursts of awake-like brain activity.  Patients appeared to spend the night with one foot in sleep and other one out of it.

    In most cases, a physician doesn't have to order sleep lab test to determine if you have disturbed sleep.  If you wake up feeling as though you have just been run over by a Mack truck-what doctors refer to as unrefreshing (or non-restorative) sleep-it is reasonable for your physician to assume that you have a sleep disorder.  It should be noted that most patients diagnosed with CFS have the same alpha-EEG sleep pattern and some FMS diagnosed patients have been found to have other sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, sleep myclonus (night time jerking of the arms and legs), restless leg syndrome, and bruxism (teeth grinding).  The sleep pattern for clinically depressed patients is distinctly different from that found in FMS or CFS.
    Constipation, diarrhea, frequent abdominal pain, abdominal gas and nausea represent symptoms frequently found in roughly 40 to 70% of FMS patients.
    Recurrent migraine or tension-type headaches are seen in about 50% of FMS patients and can pose as a major problem in coping for this patient.
    This syndrome, sometimes referred to as TMJ or JMD, causes tremendous jaw-related face and head pain in one quarter of FMS patients.  However, a 1997 published report indicated that close to 90% of FMs patients have a varying degree of jaw discomfort.  Most of the problems associated with this condition are thought to be related to the muscles and ligaments surrounding the jaw joint and not necessarily the joint itself.
    Studies reveal that FMS patients are sensitive to odors (perfumes, exhaust fumes, cigarette smoke, etc.), loud noises, bright lights and sometimes even medications that are prescribed for treating FMS.
    Premenstrual syndrome and painful periods, chest pain, morning stiffness, cognitive or memory impairment, numbness and tingling sensations, muscle twitching, irritable bladder, the feeling of swollen extremities, skin sensitivities, dry eyes and mouth, frequent changes in eye prescription, dizziness, and impaired coordination can occur.
    Changes in weather, cold or drafty environments, hormonal fluctuations (premenstrual and menopausal states), stress, depression, anxiety and over-exertion can all contribute to symptom flare-ups.