What are the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?

Summer Banks

Fibromyalgia is characterized by pain stretching over the entire body. The pain is most often associated with the muscles and soft tissues of the body. The condition is not an illness, by a syndrome that is defined by a set of symptoms gathered under one diagnosis. While there is no known cause for fibromyalgia, it is known that the pain does not cause harm to the muscles and soft tissues of the body.

Muscle stiffness and tingling caused by fibromyalgia may make performing basic tasks difficult for some individuals.
Muscle stiffness and tingling caused by fibromyalgia may make performing basic tasks difficult for some individuals.

The most common symptoms of fibromyalgia include pain in the neck, lower back, shoulders, and hips. Some patients with fibromyalgia will also complain of pain in the hands and feet, but these cases are rarer. While the syndrome is associated with muscle and soft tissue pain, these symptoms are not the only common ones.

Fibromyalgia can cause severe fatigue, which can affect driving and other daily activities.
Fibromyalgia can cause severe fatigue, which can affect driving and other daily activities.

Other symptoms of fibromyalgia can affect daily living without producing pain in the body. Fatigue, for instance, is not one of the painful symptoms, but can be severe enough to interfere with every day activities, like personal care and work. Difficulty sleeping, problems with concentration, anxiety, and constipation are also some symptoms of fibromyalgia. Due to the fact that fibromyalgia is a syndrome, the symptoms of the condition are ever-changing.

People suffering from fibromyalgia experience an increased number of headaches.
People suffering from fibromyalgia experience an increased number of headaches.

Of all the symptoms of fibromyalgia, fatigue and sleeplessness can be some of the most difficult to handle. Patients with fibromyalgia often wake after a night's sleep feeling as though they have not slept at all. This will quickly cause severe fatigue, which can affect driving and other daily activities, and increase the chance of depression and anxiety.

Constipation is one symptom of fibromyalgia.
Constipation is one symptom of fibromyalgia.

While the symptoms of this condition may seem vague, there are some common symptoms. One of these is tender points on the body that are commonly affected by the syndrome. These tender points include the top of the shoulders, back of the head, top of the chest, upper and side hips, and inner knees.

Sleeplessness is a symptom of fibromyalgia.
Sleeplessness is a symptom of fibromyalgia.

Not every patient with fibromyalgia will feel the symptoms on the same level of severity. In addition, the severity of the symptoms can range from mild to severe over the progression of the syndrome. Some patients will only feel symptoms for a few days, while others will suffer for years.

The symptoms of fibromyalgia are similar to many other conditions, which can leave this syndrome as a last diagnosis. Doctors will often rule out many other conditions before settling on the final diagnosis of fibromyalgia. There are effective treatments available today to lessen the effects of fibromyalgia on the patient.

Fibromyalgia is characterized by pain and fatigue, and appears to cluster within families.
Fibromyalgia is characterized by pain and fatigue, and appears to cluster within families.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments


@wavy58 – I had that same chest tenderness. It is pretty scary at first, when you don't know what is going on.

Though the chest sensitivity came first, I eventually began having sore spots all over my body. It hurt when my husband would touch me, and I avoided being hugged by family because of this.

It is a miserable condition. I knew that massage therapy would hurt, so I decided to try acupuncture. I was amazed at the results.

I also began eating more fish, fiber, and green vegetables. I stopped consuming lots of caffeine and fatty foods, and I began to feel better inside, which went a long way.


The symptoms of depression and fibromyalgia are so similar that for a long time, I simply thought I was depressed. I couldn't sleep, I was sad all the time, and I often got muscle aches. I just felt so tired of life, and my body was suffering the strain.

I finally decided to go to a doctor to get some medicine for my depression. When I told her about the fatigue and aches, she told me that it sounded more like fibromyalgia.

She started me out on medication to reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia, and it worked. I started to feel better physically and mentally, so I guess I wasn't clinically depressed after all.


I started having the symptoms of arthritis when I turned 30, but that seemed much too young to be dealing with it. I had a lot of stiffness all over, but I also had pain in my fingers and in my feet.

I was surprised when my doctor told me I had fibromyalgia. I had heard of it before, but everything about it seemed very vague, as if this diagnosis were reserved for mysterious conditions that doctors could not pinpoint.

When my doctor read off the list of symptoms, I discovered that I suffered from several of them. I never felt rested, and I was frequently constipated.

She recommended gentle exercise and a healthy diet. I started doing yoga and water exercises, and this seemed to help a lot. I didn't do anything too strenuous, because this would only increase my pain.


I have been weirded out by the tenderness in the area around my sternum. Whenever I touch the bone, it really hurts. I am so glad I read this article, because I now think I have fibromyalgia.

I was afraid it might have been bone cancer or something, but I never showed any signs of cancer during my physical exams. However, I have often complained to my doctor that I am tired all the time. She tested my thyroid, but when it appeared normal, she dismissed the issue.

I am going to ask another doctor about fibromyalgia and what I can do to manage it. I am just elated to know that my chest bone tenderness isn't something fatal.


@andee - First of all I would go ahead and make an appointment with your doctor to discuss the list of fibromyalgia symptoms you have.

You will feel a lot better just getting it all out in the open and talking about it. For me, it has taken a team of health care workers to help me.

In addition to my regular doctor I have a rheumatologist and a physical therapist. Don't let all of that scare you. I have found that to be the best way to get the most helpful treatment.

Even though you feel tired, exercise is one of the best things you can do. As long as you start out slowly and don't do too much at once, this should help your energy level.

I am also on a medication called Lyrica that helps me manage the pain. Being able to have pain free days and get a good night's sleep is well worth the doctor's appointments and tests I had to go through.


I think I might have fibromyalgia because I have a lot of the signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia that are listed here. I have been fighting these a long time and also thought there was too much going on in my life.

I also keep telling myself that I am too young to feel this way all the time. I have been putting off talking to my doctor about it because I don't want to go through a lot of testing.

I think the headaches and lack of energy is what bothers me the most. I have missed a lot of work because of this and am also worried about my job. All of this because a vicious circle because then I get depressed about having all of these symptoms.

What is the best treatment for someone who has symptoms of fibromyalgia syndrome?


@bagley - I can really relate to the symptom of fatigue when it comes to fibromyalgia. This was probably one of my first symptoms of fibromyalgia, but I attributed it to a lot of other things.

I just kept thinking if I got more sleep at night I would start feeling better. It didn't seem to matter how much or little sleep I got, I was exhausted all the time. At first I thought it might be related to changing hormones, but that wasn't the problem.

The fatigue is either with you all day long, or will come on very suddenly and all you can think about is trying to get to bed.

When I started getting the tender points on my shoulders and neck, I knew there was something else going on.

Fortunately I had a doctor who was very knowledgeable about this, and I didn't have to go through a lot of unnecessary tests to find out I had fibromyalgia.


It was a long process before I was finally given the diagnosis of fibromyalgia. First I had months of symptoms that I was experiencing and thought they were just related to stress.

Then I went through numerous tests to rule out other problems. I think one of the hardest things about getting a fibromyalgia diagnosis is that the symptoms come and go and never seem to be exactly the same.

The most common fibromyalgia symptoms I had were morning stiffness and fatigue. Because these can be vague and related to so many other issues, coming up with the real problem can be a challenge.

It was a relief to finally have a diagnosis and know that other diseases were ruled out. Once you know specifically what is wrong, it is easier to know how to begin treating it.

Post your comments
Forgot password?