I wanted to spend this week speaking about the many symptoms of Fibromyalgia. I have a list of 63 symptoms but today I thought that we would start with the 6 basic symptoms that almost everybody seems to complain about”. Today will discuss the first 3.
1 Pain: This can be anywhere from mild to severe and can affect any part of the body or even the entire body. some have complained pain in just the top half, where others complained of pain in the bottom half. I’ve also seen patients who have pain on only the right side or the left side of the body. The pain can move around and can affect everything from the top of the head to the bottom of the feet and everything in between.
The pain has been described as everything from deep and burning to more superficial sharp and stabbing and every combination of these. One thing is for sure, the pain can be so severe as to leave you bed ridden or milder where you can manage your day to day activities, though it is a struggle.
Why do you have this pain? The nervous system consists of 12 left cranial nerves, 12 right cranial nerves, 31 left spinal nerves and 31 right spinal nerves. Remember that the nerves and nervous system control everything in the body from muscles to joints to organs,,,,everything.As the nervous system is on hyper-drive, these nerves are consistently firing. The part of the nerves that carry pain signals are constant being stimulated and thus you have pain anywhere and everywhere in the body.
2 Insomnia: People with Fibromyalgia have great difficulty sleeping. It might take 2 or 3 hours before they fall asleep, they might twist and turn, get out of bed, get back into bed and perhaps they finally do fall asleep. The problem is that they wake up in an hour or two and cannot get back to sleep. The sleep they do manage tends to be very superficial and they rarely achieve that deep phase of R.E.M. (Rapid Eye Movement), which is so important for our health. they thus wake up more tired than when they first fell asleep.
Why is sleep so difficult? Another part of the nervous system is the Autonomic Nervous system that controls all the automatic functions in the body, the things you don’t willfully control. (Digestion, Fear, Respiration etc.) This is than divided into the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic systems. The Sympathetic system is designed to protect you from danger. It secretes Adrenalin to give you that extra energy to remove yourself from harms way.
Because the nervous system is on over-drive, the Sympathetic system is constant producing Adrenalin, much more than the body needs. Due to this over supply of adrenalin, a person with Fibromyalgia finds it almost impossible to sleep.
3 Chronic Fatigue: This is the feeling of being tired all the time. The irony being that you can’t sleep (see symptom 2).
The three most common phrases I hear is that:
I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck!
I feel like I have the Flu!
I feel like I’ve been beat up!
Even the most mundane chores become an effort, you feel like you’re dragging yourself through life and the fatigue does not stop.
Why do you have Fatigue? Simply because you are sleep deprived. When you can’t sleep or don’t get the proper sleep, you are going to feel this tremendous fatigue. Some of the other things related to fatigue and sleep deprivation are hypersensitivity to sounds, smells and taste.
Next Fibromyalgia Symptoms 101 Part 2: The 3 other most common symptoms.