Checklist for fibromyalgia symptoms.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes a variety of symptoms that interfere with everyday activities such as sleeping, working, and socializing. Based on my wife’s experience, I decided to write this helpful guide to provide you with a checklist for fibromyalgia symptoms and a checklist for fibromyalgia tender points.
Below, I give you in a nutshell checklists for fibromyalgia symptoms and for fibromyalgia tender points.
The checklist for fibromyalgia symptoms includes:
- Cognitive issues.
- Sleep problems.
- Anxiety and depression.
The checklist for fibromyalgia tender points includes:
- The back of your neck.
- Your elbows.
- The front of your neck.
- Your pelvis.
- Lower back.
- Upper back.
- Your chest.
It’s important to talk to your doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms for an extended period of time as it could be related to fibromyalgia or another condition. Your doctor may suggest treatments such as medication, lifestyle changes, physical therapy, or other therapies to help alleviate your symptoms.
- FREE fibromyalgia infographic gifts!
- My wife's medical conditions…
- Overview of fibromyalgia.
- Fibromyalgia symptoms in females.
- FREE chronic pain body map.
- Checklist for fibromyalgia symptoms and tender points.
FREE fibromyalgia infographic gifts!
I wanted to begin with two gifts, so below you will find a FREE fibromyalgia tender points infographic and a FREE diagnosis checklist of these points for you to download.
My wife’s medical conditions…
Aside from fibromyalgia, my wife, M, also suffers from stage IV endometriosis. Primarily she was diagnosed with endometriosis and fibromyalgia occurred the following year.
While my wife experienced pain on and off for many years in the past, this pain used to be located in her pelvic area, however, over time, the pain has progressed to her legs, and spine, eventually becoming widespread, more consistent, and becoming a daily struggle.
But how common is it to be struggling with multiple medical conditions?
When it comes to chronic illness, many women experience both fibromyalgia and endometriosis and have a higher risk of having other autoimmune diseases such as IBS and chronic fatigue syndrome, anxiety, or depression as well as more hospitalizations. Additionally, my wife experienced all of them, plus Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. She also has other gastric problems like acid reflux and heartburn, and she also suffers from Iron anemia and Magnesium deficiency.
Studies prove that women who were diagnosed with endometriosis after surgery reported a high prevalence of fibromyalgia. That was the case with my wife. The trauma of endometriosis brought fibromyalgia. And according to researchers from Southwest Spine and Pain Center, “women with endometriosis were twice as likely to have fibromyalgia than those who did not have the condition.
In the endometriosis community, I’ve met many women who suffer from fibromyalgia and endometriosis simultaneously.
Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and Fallopian tubes. This condition affects 1 in 10 women worldwide. It’s a life-long illness that can have a significant impact on your life in many ways.
If you want to learn more about it, feel free to check my “Endo-Tool”.
Overview of fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is a disorder of the muscles and soft tissues that can cause widespread body pain, fatigue, mood changes, memory problems, and difficulty sleeping. It can affect people of any age, gender, or race but is more common in women and usually begins in middle age.
While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, there are treatments available to help manage symptoms. It’s important to get an accurate diagnosis from a doctor so that the appropriate treatment plan can be developed.
Symptoms of this chronic illness vary from person to person, but the main symptom is always pain all over the body and this is why I decided to provide you with a pain-oriented infographic above.
Since fibromyalgia mostly affects women, and my wife is one of them, I would like to say a few words about fibromyalgia symptoms in females because they can differ from the male ones.
Fibromyalgia symptoms in females.
What differentiates fibromyalgia symptoms in females from symptoms in men is the presence of “tender points” which can be localized in the neck, chest, elbows, or other parts of the body. They can become more painful when pressure is applied to them.
Other particular symptoms in women include migraine, abdominal pain, pelvic pain, breast tenderness, and difficulty sleeping. Women are also more prone to depression and anxiety, but not only that, unlike men, women may have more cognitive issues such as difficulty concentrating and memory problems.
Like it is the case of my wife, many women also suffer from endometriosis alongside fibromyalgia, which makes the symptoms overlap, making it more difficult to diagnose.
Women who suffer from fibromyalgia experience fatigue and difficulty concentrating, which can lead to problems performing daily tasks. Since fibromyalgia is a chronic illness, symptoms can come and go over time, so it’s important to be aware of them.
Finally, I want to remind you that fibromyalgia is a complex condition and it’s important to talk to your doctor about any symptoms that you experience.
FREE chronic pain body map.
When diagnosing, doctors may not immediately consider fibromyalgia when evaluating these types of symptoms, because pain is also common with many other conditions, like endo or CFS.
That’s one reason why it takes an average of five years for people with fibromyalgia to get diagnosed and seven to eight years on average, to get diagnosed with endometriosis.
Knowing the type and location of pain you have, may help your doctor diagnose you earlier. The faster you get diagnosed, the sooner you can get started on a treatment to relieve your symptoms.
But as it was in the case of my wife, it took a while for her to pinpoint exactly where, and what kind of pain she felt at any moment. My wife used to get frustrated trying to explain her pain, my lack of understanding wasn’t helpful either. After all, I’m a man, and I don’t experience what she’s going through.
I decided to create a chronic pain body map that you can also download below for FREE.
Checklist for fibromyalgia symptoms and tender points.
I’ve given you plenty of freebies already, but I need to get to the point and expand a little bit on the checklist of fibromyalgia symptoms and the checklist of tender points that fibromyalgia is associated with.
These tender points are areas on the body where people with fibromyalgia feel more pain or soreness than usual. They are located in specific spots along the spine, neck, and shoulders.
They can also be found in other parts of the body such as hips, elbows, and knees. When touched lightly or pressed on with a finger, they are often painful to people with fibromyalgia.
For some people, these tender points may come and go over time, while for others they may be a permanent part of the fibromyalgia symptom checklist. It is important to note that these tender points are not always indicative of fibromyalgia, as they can also be caused by other conditions.
Let’s dive first into the symptoms of fibromyalgia!
The checklist for fibromyalgia symptoms.
The checklist for fibromyalgia symptoms includes:
- Fatigue: This symptom refers to feeling exhausted for no apparent reason. People with fibromyalgia often describe it as feeling like their energy has been “sucked out” of them.
- Pain: This can range from mild discomfort to severe pain in the muscles and joints. The pain often seems to radiate from one part of the body over time or move around from place to place.
- Cognitive issues: Many people with fibromyalgia experience “fibro fog”, which is a lack of mental clarity and difficulty concentrating.
- Sleep problems: People with fibromyalgia often have trouble getting enough restful sleep, which can cause daytime fatigue.
- Anxiety and depression: These symptoms are common among people with fibromyalgia. They can contribute to a feeling of overall distress or unhappiness that interferes with daily life.
The checklist for fibromyalgia tender points.
The checklist for fibromyalgia tender points includes:
- The back of your neck: People with fibromyalgia are more likely to experience tenderness in this area, which is known as the occiput. This area is located at the base of your skull and can be very painful when touched.
- Your elbows: Pain in this area is common in people with fibromyalgia and can be caused by inflammation in the muscles or joints around the elbow joint.
- The front of your neck: The sternoclavicular joint, which connects your collarbone to your breastbone, may also become tender or painful for people with fibromyalgia.
- Your pelvis: You may feel pain or stiffness in this area due to muscle tension in your hips or lower back.
- Lower back: Fibromyalgia can cause discomfort or pain in the lower back due to tightness in the muscles around it.
- Knees: Pain or tenderness in the knee joint can be caused by inflammation in the joint, due to fibromyalgia.
- Upper back: Tension and soreness in this area can be a result of neck stiffness or muscle strain from carrying too much weight.
- Shoulders: Muscle tension, inflammation, and fatigue can cause pain in your shoulders as well.
- Your chest: Fibromyalgia can cause pain in this area due to tightness in your chest muscles or joint inflammation around the ribs.
The complexity of fibromyalgia symptoms…
Fibromyalgia symptoms are complex and can vary in intensity and frequency. It is important to remember that fibromyalgia is a serious condition, and your checklist of symptoms should be taken into account when seeking treatment.
Pain and tenderness in muscles and joints throughout your body can shift from place to place, but to meet the criteria for a diagnosis, the person needs to have experienced pain for at least three months to be considered chronic.
Such pain must also be in a specific number of body parts and be above a specific severity score. Important is that you do not have other conditions such as arthritis or endometriosis, that could explain the pain.
Fibromyalgia causes a number of other symptoms, such as fatigue lack of energy trouble sleeping depression or anxiety memory problems, and fibro-fog (trouble with concentrating). Headaches, muscle twitches, cramps, numbness, tingling in the hands and feet, itching, burning, and other skin problems can be the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Pain belongs to the most severe symptoms and can be very intense, and constant. It can be so severe that keeps you home from work and other activities. But again, it can be the same for endometriosis.
Fibromyalgia can also cause intense emotional symptoms such as anxiety and depression. Fatigue can have one of the biggest impacts on your mental health.
Chronic fatigue affects more than 90% of people with fibromyalgia. It isn’t usual tiredness. It can actually cause very serious exhaustion, draining your body of energy, and turning even the simplest activity into a chore.
Some people with fibromyalgia experience also uncomfortable symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, commonly known as IBS. These symptoms are diarrhea with or without constipation, belly pain, belly bloating due to gas, and nausea.
Up to 70% of people notice regular tension or migraine headaches, which are often extremely severe. More unusual symptoms of fibromyalgia are symptoms that you might not expect, but they can still occur:
- excess sweating
- easy bruising
- sensitivity to noise
- sensitivity to light
- sensitivity to temperature
- jaw pain
- chest pain
- bladder pain
- urgent need to urinate
- food allergies
- stuffed nose
How can fibromyalgia pain differ from other types of pain?
Fibromyalgia pain is widespread, it is located in your muscles and other soft tissues like joints.
Its uniqueness is that this kind of pain affects various sites all over the body.
The mind and body cannot be separated, and so pain is intensified because of the way your brain processes it. If you are stressed or not plays a very important role.
It is important for you to recognize the relationship between stress and pain.
What we all know about life is that it can be very stressful. Sometimes more often than we wished to. You can not get a pill for that. No pill will make stress go away, because stress often doesn’t come from you, but from the environment and actions of other people.
Stress and pain.
Stress is just a part of life!
It is important to know that stress can influence the way you experience pain.
We can differentiate stress. For example, we can see the difference between being stressed by a barking dog, or by having an argument with a family member. But to the body stress is stress, and it will always activate the sympathetic system.
In the case of fibromyalgia pain, stress worsens its condition.
But this is just one aspect of pain – your own stressors. Let’s not forget about other stressors – your life, work, family, friends, finances, hobbies, etc… It all adds up causing a poorer diet, lack of sleep, and relationship issues.
This vicious cycle is very common. I’m sure your partner or yourself experienced that. Pain can easily get out of control!
Fibromyalgia pain can be in the neck, middle, or lower back, arms, legs, shoulders, and hips.
Everyone’s experience with fibromyalgia pain is always different. For example, in the beginning, my wife felt spread pain in only the right side of her body. Later on, it became widespread, affecting both sides.
Some people feel the pain only in certain muscles, other people experience pain all over the body. The quality of such pain also differs from person to person. It may be:
Its intensity can vary and may depend on the time of day, and the activity. Some people have worse pain in the morning, others after they exercise.
In order to diagnose fibromyalgia properly, your doctor – a rheumatologist, will search for 18 pain points on your body that are tender and sensitive to touch.
Diagnosis of fibromyalgia can be difficult because pain is very personal, and your discomfort might not necessarily be the same for someone else. That’s why doctors are meant to check for certain tender points on your body when it comes to diagnosing fibromyalgia.
These 18 points seem like a big number but think of them as 9 pairs. These points tend to be painful when pressed and may spread to other parts of your body.
Let’s list these fibromyalgia tender points once again:
- The back of your neck. If you have fibromyalgia, you may have tender points at the back of your neck.
- Your elbows. Fibromyalgia patients may also feel tenderness on their forearms, near their elbows.
- The front of your neck. The doctor will check your potential fibromyalgia pain at the front of the neck, located above your collarbone, on either side.
- Your pelvis. Hip pain is common and people with fibromyalgia have a tender point near where the buttock muscles curve to join the thighs.
- Lower back. The lower back area is one of the most common body parts to be the source of pain. However, people with fibromyalgia may have pain trigger points at the very top of the buttocks, and right at the bottom of the lower back.
- Knees. While knee pain is common in people with fibromyalgia, the inside of each knee pad may feel tender to the touch.
- Upper back. Tender points are often in places of the body where tendons and muscles meet.
- Shoulders. Additionally, tenderness is in the upper back, but some people with fibromyalgia have tender points just above that, halfway between the edge of the shoulder and the bottom of the neck.
- Your chest. People with fibromyalgia may also have tender points on either side of the sternum, a few inches below the collarbone.
Stress, lack of sleep, and even weather can affect fibromyalgia pain.
Since you are interested in fibromyalgia, I wrote a “Fibromyalgia for Caring Partners” e-Book, in which 1st chapter is absolutely FREE!
FREE Fibromyalgia e-Book
Fibromyalgia for Caring Men
Treatment of fibromyalgia symptoms…
As you have noticed, it says “treatment of fibromyalgia symptoms” because fibromyalgia cannot be treated directly as an illness. As I mentioned before – you cannot treat the illness, you treat it by targeting its symptoms.
You must focus on all the aspects of your life that are affected by chronic pain, like your work, family, friends, sex, finances, hobbies, etc…
Ideally, as it was in the case of my M, physical therapy works magic in combination with Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy.
Common components of psychological therapy are:
- Pacing of activities.
- Pain & stress physiology.
- Relaxation training.
- Sleep hygiene.
- Identifying stressors.
- Stress management.
- Pain flare-up management.
Fibromyalgia pain affects many aspects of your life, in return – the affected areas of your life impact your pain. It’s a never-ending cycle.
People are told by their doctors, who are wrongly thought by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that treating fibromyalgia can be done with drugs…
But again – you cannot treat chronic pain with the mentality of acute pain treatment. It doesn’t last, you get addicted to drugs, your drug resistance grows, and you increase the risk of overdose.
FDA comes up all the time with fancy names for drugs to get your attention, such as duloxetine (Cymbalta), milnacipran (Savella), or pregabalin (Lyrica).
They work by altering levels of chemicals in your brain and spinal cord that control the transmission of pain signals. I don’t disagree, drugs are fantastic! But they are a great solution for acute pain, not chronic pain!
Relaxation therapies such as CBT, meditation, mindfulness, pilates, yoga, and tai chi are the best way to treat chronic illnesses like fibromyalgia. Also, try to exercise as much and as often as you can. That helps my wife.
Although it might hurt at first, if you stick with light fitness, like walking or bike riding, you will eventually strengthen your muscles and reduce pain.
You can start slowly and gradually increase your intensity, but exercise only when you feel good and ready for it. Don’t push it!
Sleep and overall rest play a big role in fibromyalgia. A lack of sleep can make you feel worse. If you’re struggling to fall asleep, try to avoid or at least limit caffeine and other stimulants (like TV or radio before bed.
Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. It will allow your body to get into its natural rhythm.
When talking about the checklist for fibromyalgia symptoms, pain is the most obvious. Sometimes it is also the most difficult symptom of fibromyalgia to deal with.
Conclusion on the checklist of fibromyalgia symptoms.
That concludes our checklist for fibromyalgia symptoms and tender points. Remember that these are just some of the more common symptoms associated with fibromyalgia and may not all apply to you personally.
Having a checklist for fibromyalgia symptoms and tender points can help you identify if you may have fibromyalgia or another condition, so you can get the help you need as soon as possible.
To recap, other symptoms like poor concentration, fatigue, depression, or anxiety can also have a big impact on your life. The best thing you can do is to keep track of your symptoms in a diary so you can accurately report them to your doctor. I summarized a checklist for fibromyalgia symptoms.
If you found this article helpful, you can rest assured that this printable checklist for fibromyalgia symptoms won’t disappoint!
Hi, I’m Lucjan! The reason why I decided to create this blog was my beautiful wife, who experienced a lot of pain in life, but also the lack of information about endometriosis and fibromyalgia for men…