|SYMPTOMS AND ASSOCIATED SYNDROMES
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
- SLEEP DISORDER
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.
- IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME
diarrhea, frequent abdominal pain, abdominal gas and nausea represent
symptoms frequently found in roughly 40 to 70% of FMS patients.
- CHRONIC HEADACHES
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.
- TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT DYSFUNCTION SYNDROME
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.
- MULTIPLE CHEMICAL SENSITIVITIES
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.
- OTHER COMMON SYMPTOMS
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.
- AGGRAVATING FACTORS
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.