Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Pain management health centre

Select a topic to explore more.
Select An Article

Symptoms of fribromyalgia & signs you might have it

The main fibromyalgia symptoms include deep muscle pain, painful trigger points or tender points, and morning stiffness. Other major symptoms of fibromyalgia include sleep disorders, fatigue and anxiety. In order to make an accurate diagnosis, your doctor will need to review the signs and symptoms you are experiencing. Fibromyalgia affects far more women than men.

What are the common symptoms of fibromyalgia?

Common symptoms of fibromyalgia, also known as fibromyalgia syndrome or FMS, may include:

Is pain the most common symptom of fibromyalgia?

Yes. Widespread pain is characteristic of more than 97% of patients with fibromyalgia. In fact, pain is usually what forces a person with fibromyalgia to see his or her doctor.

Unlike the joint pain of osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia pain is felt over the entire body. It is a deep, sharp, dull, throbbing or aching pain that is felt in the muscles, tendons and ligaments around the joints. The muscle and tissue pain is described as tender, aching, burning or stabbing. A sufferer may also experience increased sensitivity and prolonged pain.

For some people with fibromyalgia, the pain comes and goes. The pain also seems to travel throughout the body.

Do painful trigger points accompany FMS pain?

Along with the deep muscle soreness and body aches, people with fibromyalgia have painful trigger points or localised areas of tenderness around their joints that hurt when pressed with a finger. It is the tissue around the joints rather than the joints themselves that are painful. These trigger points or tender points are often not areas of deep pain. Instead, they are superficial, located under the surface of the skin.

The location of trigger points is not random. They are in predictable places on the body. If you apply pressure to trigger points on a person without fibromyalgia, he or she would just feel pressure. For a person with fibromyalgia, pressing the trigger points is extremely painful.

Is fatigue a fibromyalgia symptom?

Next to pain and the tender trigger points, fatigue is a major complaint. Fatigue in fibromyalgia refers to a lingering tiredness that is more constant and limiting than what we would usually expect. Some patients complain of being tired even when they should feel rested, such as when they have had enough sleep. Some patients report the fatigue of fibromyalgia as being similar to the symptoms of flu. Some compare it to how it feels after working long hours and missing a lot of sleep.

With fibromyalgia, you may feel:

  • Fatigue on getting up in the morning.
  • Fatigue after mild activity such as shopping or cooking dinner.
  • Too fatigued to start a task such as folding clothes or ironing.
  • Too fatigued to exercise.
  • More fatigued after exercise.
  • Too fatigued for sex.
  • Too fatigued to function adequately at work.
Next Article:

WebMD Medical Reference

Mind, body & soul newsletter

Looking after your health and wellbeing.
Sign Up

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

rash on skin
Soothe skin and prevent flare-ups
woman blowing nose
Myths & facts about allergies
cold sore
How to cope with cold sores
bowl of soup
Small changes that lead to weight loss
man administering eyedrops
Taking on eye allergies
palm tree and beach
How to make it less stressful
toddler doodling
What to expect in your child's second year
bain illustration
Best foods for your brain
bucket with cleaning supplies in it
Cleaning for a healthy home
mother and child
Could your baby be allergic to milk?
pregnant woman eating healthy salad
Nutrition needs before pregnancy