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What Does Fibromyalgia Feel Like?

A lady that has body pain

Perhaps you are one of the millions of people every year who wake up one day and suddenly find themselves starting to experience symptoms they don’t understand.

From widespread pain that has no known cause, to sleep problems that can’t be explained, and even belly pain that is quite severe, you are worried, scared, and trying to figure out where to turn.

But…after trying to get some answers from your physician or another healthcare professional, you may be left wondering…

What exactly is wrong with me?

And why can’t anyone help me figure it out?

The good news is – you are not alone.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 4 million people in the United States alone are battling the symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia.

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This equates to around 2% of the population who are experiencing the chronic pain and other symptoms that are associated with fibromyalgia.

Not only that, but they are most likely not being given the needed help to alleviate them.

Why Won’t My Doctor Diagnose My Fibromyalgia Pain?

Though this is frustrating, it’s true.

For many people with fibromyalgia, trying to find a healthcare professional who takes their pain seriously can be an exhausting and overwhelming feat.

Why is this?

One reason is that fibromyalgia is hard to diagnose.

There are no blood tests available, like with most diseases, and there is no known cure.

Because of this, many times a healthcare provider may not be able to understand how the various symptoms of fibromyalgia and may actually diagnose a patient with a different disorder or problem.

People at the Hospital Hallway

For example, a patient who presents with severe pain in their joints and/or with restless legs syndrome may be told by their physician that they need to get more exercise during the day, which will alleviate their symptoms.

Another person with fibromyalgia pain may actually present with a sleep disturbance that is quite severe as well as have tender points all over their body.

In a case like this, the doctor may tell the person that they are stressed and need to find some way to deal with their stress instead of their pain.

In both cases above, a person’s fibromyalgia pain clearly isn’t being taken seriously or diagnosed appropriately.

And this can be one of the most frustrating things for people with fibromyalgia to deal with since it can sometimes make them feel like “it’s all in their head.”

So… Do I Actually Have Fibromyalgia?

Because fibromyalgia is difficult to diagnose and because there is no known cure, people with fibromyalgia symptoms will have to realize early on that they must be able to advocate for themselves.

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A doctor and her patient

And…people with fibromyalgia will need to be able to understand their own symptoms of fibromyalgia and not necessarily rely on the healthcare field to do it for them.

Let’s look at some of the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia and understand what they feel like so that you can get a better understanding as to whether or not what you are experiencing is indeed this debilitating disease.

All-Over Body Pain

Most people with fibromyalgia will say that the hardest part to contend with is the constant dull ache they have throughout their bodies and the widespread pain that just doesn’t seem to ever fully go away.

Researchers still struggle to understand why this is the case.

The most popular explanation to date is that – like a disease such as rheumatoid arthritis – fibromyalgia is a disease that greatly affects a person’s joints and muscles in a way that causes constant pain and a dull ache that is difficult to alleviate.

Though some healthcare professionals will suggest pain relievers or certain types of exercise as a way to help diminish this type of pain, the bottom line is this.

There is no known cure that will help alleviate this type of pain or prevent it from happening in the future.

If you tend to feel pain on a regular basis throughout your body with no known explanation, there is a good chance that you are experiencing what fibromyalgia feels like firsthand.

A woman experiencing pain

Restlessness…All Day and All Night

Another way that you’ll know what does fibromyalgia feel like is if you are experiencing constant restlessness throughout your body, regardless of your level of exercise, sleep, or outside environmental stressors or stimuli.

Restlessness and fibromyalgia go hand in hand.

Whether it’s restlessness in the form of your limbs, your body, or your brain, many people with fibromyalgia talk about the fact that their body constantly can’t quiet itself…that there is a consistent feeling of anxiousness that they can’t seem to shake.

Again, many healthcare providers will chalk your restless legs syndrome up to the fact that maybe you need more exercise, or a new hobby, or even therapy.

Someone restless

They may suggest that you need to improve your self-management and get control of your emotional state or work or your mental health.

But the truth is this.

Fibromyalgia wreaks havoc on a person’s body, from their musculoskeletal system to their nervous system.

When your body feels like it’s constantly at war with itself, you are going to struggle to find peace within it.

What does fibromyalgia feel like? It feels like war. And the enemy seems hard to identify.

Constant Stomach Issues

Dealing with the uncomfortable feeling of gastrointestinal issues such as constant abdominal pain, painful cramps, diarrhea, excessive bloating, and – even more embarrassing conditions such as flatulence – can be one of the most overlooked symptoms of fibromyalgia that a person has to deal with.

When medical professionals are asked to treat fibromyalgia patients, they often don’t make the connection between gastrointestinal issues and the actual disease.

In fact, oftentimes a person is having a stomach flare-up, a physician or other medical person will often diagnose that patient with irritable bowel syndrome instead of fibromyalgia.

Irritable bowel syndrome is definitely a known symptom of fibromyalgia.

Abdominal pain

IBS is a disorder that affects a person’s stomach and small and large intestines. And, just like fibromyalgia, it is a chronic condition that will need to be managed long-term.

That said, irritable bowel syndrome is a symptom of fibromyalgia, not the actual diagnosis.

People with fibromyalgia may be told that what they are suffering from is IBS, when in fact this is just one small component of what they are experiencing overall.

Sadness, Even When There’s No Reason to Be Sad

Perhaps the least discussed feeling that presents for a person who has fibromyalgia is the emotional component of this debilitating disease.

Anyone who has suffered from fibromyalgia symptoms will understand that not all the symptoms are physical.

Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of fibromyalgia is the mental pain that it causes.

As research continues to show, the mental toll that fibromyalgia pain and suffering take on a person will definitely begin to affect more than their physical health.

We now know that living with fibromyalgia can trigger significant negative emotions about oneself, your life, and even your relationships with the people around you.

A woman sitting sadly beside the river.

And… these negative emotions can increase symptoms like physical or widespread pain, muscle tension and increased sensitivity, anxiety headaches, overwhelming fatigue, sleep problems, central nervous system issues, and just overall symptoms that are closely tied to a fibromyalgia diagnosis.

Fibro Fog

Finally, another common feeling that many people with fibromyalgia experience on a regular basis is what is referred to as “fibro fog.”

Fibro fog is the sense that your brain is a bit foggy, that your cognitive function is working properly.

This can be a feeling that a fibromyalgia sufferer has for brief bouts during the day, or it can be something that affects them for long periods of time, causing the person to feel confused, tired, and have an overall sense of mental cloudiness.

confused person

Just like other feelings that are associated with fibromyalgia, fibro fog doesn’t seem to go away with medication, exercise, or even more sleep.

Once a person is in the midst of this type of brain fog, they may feel like their only option is to just wait it out, which can add to their other symptoms worsening and their overall sense of malaise increasing.

The bottom line is this…

Fibromyalgia affects people in different ways.

That said, most fibromyalgia sufferers would like others to understand how fibromyalgia feels, and what exactly they have to deal with on a regular basis.

Where Can I Find More Information on My Fibromyalgia Pain and Symptoms?

When you are ready to take charge of your symptoms and advocate for yourself, come see what Native Formulas has to offer.

We are more than just a website about fibromyalgia education.

Native Formulas is a community of people who have been studying and living with fibromyalgia pain for years.

We offer everything from the latest research to support groups for anyone and everyone who is having to navigate a world where fibromyalgia is still misunderstood.

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Are You Ready to Learn More About What Your Fibromyalgia Feels Like?

If you are ready to learn more about what you can do about your fibromyalgia pain, we are here to help you.


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