5 Early Warning Signs of Fibromyalgia

July 12, 2016
While the symptoms of fibromyalgia can resemble those associated with other illnesses, if you notice more than one of these early signs of fibromyalgia, it’s a good idea to go to your doctor for early diagnosis.

Fibromyalgia is a disease that’s recognized by all medical organizations, including the World Health Organization since 1992. It is without a doubt more prevalent in women. Moreover, this disease is often misunderstood, so it’s important to understand the symptoms and early warning signs of fibromyalgia.

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Today, fibromyalgia presents a challenge for both science and medicine because the clinical profile and symptoms can be very broad. Profiles can include chronic musculoskeletal pain, irritable bowel syndrome, overactive bladder disorders, sleep disorders, teeth grinding, etc.

The hypersensitivity to pain and mood disturbances caused by this chronic condition are two common realities. In fact, they mean that fibromyalgia patients tend to face limitations in their daily life.

Furthermore, patients sometimes suffer severely to the point of paralyzation, which is why it’s difficult to provide a complete and functional treatment regimen to regain their quality of life.

As always, when dealing with chronic diseases, it’s important to have as much information as possible and to be part of a support group. This will help give you access to various treatments until you achieve the best results.

In today’s article, we invite you to learn about five early warning signs of fibromyalgia.

The Early Warning Signs of Fibromyalgia

Let’s start out by considering something important. Patients with fibromyalgia tend to wait a long time to receive the proper diagnosis, due to the variety of symptoms.

It’s common to go through a series of different doctors and specialists until you finally arrive at the correct diagnosis. Doctors may think it could have something to do with rheumatic or arthritic diseases.

However, fibromyalgia is much broader.

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Neurologists have found that this is not, in fact, a rheumatic disease, but rather a problem that originates in the central nervous system.

Therefore, you should keep an eye out for the following symptoms. Additionally, if they’re persistent or if you suffer from several, it’s time to visit a good specialist.

Points of pain in woman with early warning signs of fibromyalgia1. Ossification

This refers to the sensation of losing mobility in the joints and is very painful.

  • This sensation of paralysis usually appears in the morning and is one of the early warning signs of fibromyalgia.
  • When you’ve been seated or lying down for long periods of time, your body and the joints don’t respond in the same way.
  • You might also experience this symptom when you undergo changes in temperature or relative humidity.

An example could be when you’re in a room that’s air-conditioned. When you go outside and notice the difference in temperature, you may experience a headache and stiffness in the muscles of the neck or shoulders.

2. Sleep disorders

In spite of getting plenty of sleep, patients suffering from this disease may wake up and still feel tired, as if they’d only slept a few hours.

Several studies on this subject indicate that during the deepest phase of sleep (the delta stage) you may experience disruptions in the brain waves that induce calmness.

This means, therefore, that in spite of being asleep you’re not resting.

3. Small cognitive failures

Woman with headache warning signs of fibromyalgia
Patients often report that the early warning signs of fibromyalgia include some difficulty concentrating or focusing on certain tasks.

  • These issues are known as the “fibro fog” and are characterized by small failures in memory or difficulty taking on several things at once.
  • It’s important to note that these symptoms may also be associated with stress. Therefore, if you’re trying to determine whether or not it could be fibromyalgia, it’s best to take into account other more definitive symptoms (joint pain, fatigue, etc.).

4. Abdominal discomfort

Many people who have fibromyalgia experience various digestive problems that manifest early on with the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain, constipation, or diarrhea
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Difficulty digesting or swallowing food. Experts say that sometimes fibromyalgia can cause problems in the muscles of the esophagus.

5. Myofascial pain syndrome

Myofascial pain syndrome is a neuromuscular condition in which very painful spots (known as trigger points) are formed and distributed around the muscles or connective tissues.

  • If you experience painful repetitive movements that are in unexpected places, it could be one of the early warning signs of fibromyalgia.
  • Sometimes just carrying a heavy shoulder bag can cause sharp pain in the neck, shoulder, and even elbow. As a result, this is something to keep in mind.
Woman with shoulder pain

Be Wary of the Early Warning Signs of Fibromyalgia

Remember that fibromyalgia can affect each person differently with a broad array of symptoms.

There are some more common symptoms, however, and we encourage you to seek help if any of the ones we described today are becoming persistent and affecting your quality of life.

  • Clauw, D. J. (2014). Fibromyalgia: A clinical review. JAMA – Journal of the American Medical Association. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2014.3266
  • Borchers, A. T., & Gershwin, M. E. (2015). Fibromyalgia: A Critical and Comprehensive Review. Clinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12016-015-8509-4
  • Mease, P. J., Arnold, L. M., Bennett, R., Boonen, A., Buskila, D., Carville, S., … Crofford, L. (2007). Fibromyalgia syndrome. In Journal of Rheumatology. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1563-258X.2003.03037.x
  • Bradley, L. A. (2009). Pathophysiology of Fibromyalgia. American Journal of Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2009.09.008