Severe fibromyalgia is a condition involving greatly increased sensitivity to pain. There are 18 designated tender points on the body, and in someone with this condition, a high number, if not all of them, will be particularly sensitive to pain induced by pressure. There are three recognized levels of fibromyalgia, which are mild, moderate and severe or chronic. Severe fibromyalgia syndrome often is accompanied by other conditions such as anxiety and depression. Although severe fibromyalgia does not always appear to have a trigger, it is more common for someone to develop the condition after a traumatic event such as childbirth, a severe infection, an accident, a surgical procedure or severe emotional trauma.
Aside from tender points, general muscle, tendon and ligament pain is present, along with fatigue. Muscle pain presents as general, widespread aching or burning. Pain associated with all three types of fibromyalgia most likely will be worse at some times than others, often several hours after an activity. In each individual case, the triggers for increased pain will vary and can include a period of activity, such as housework or taking a walk. In some individuals, pain will be worsened by periods of inactivity such as sitting down or driving for extended periods.
Apart from the intense pain common to severe fibromyalgia, there are other frequently reported symptoms, although not all patients will suffer from all symptoms. Environmental changes such as noise, lighting and weather changes can cause other symptoms such as pain to flare up. Aside from muscle aches, stiffness is very common, especially after periods of inactivity.
Irritable bowel syndrome often appears in conjunction with severe fibromyalgia. Irritable bowel syndrome causes diarrhea, constipation, nausea, bloating and stomach cramps. Headaches are a common symptom of fibromyalgia, and they can vary widely in severity, from a mild tension headache to a severe migraine.
Depression and anxiety are common secondary conditions because of the relentless pain and other associated symptoms. Clumsiness and dizziness also are associated with severe fibromyalgia, but in some cases, these symptoms actually are side effects of medications prescribed to manage fibromyalgia. The ability to concentrate for extended periods of time often is impaired, which is thought to be caused by the pain and stiffness associated with the condition.
As of 2010, there was no known cure for fibromyalgia, but treatments were available for the symptoms of the condition. Severe fibromyalgia often is treated using a regimen of chronic pain medications, medications to improve the quality of sleep and a carefully constructed pain management plan. Gentle exercise is commonly recommended, along with rest and relaxation techniques. Heat, such as hot baths or soaking afflicted limbs, will help to reduce pain. A balanced diet is vital in managing fibromyalgia, because a well-balanced diet aids both physical and mental well-being.
People suffering from severe fibromyalgia might find it very difficult to hold down a regular job or have an active social life, because the symptoms can be debilitating. Fibromyalgia sufferers experience good days with few symptoms and bad days where they are overwhelmed with symptoms and cannot leave the house or even get out of bed. Severe fibromyalgia sufferers must learn the limitations of their body and not exceed those limitations, because pain will peak when the body is overstretched.