Five Weird Signs of Fibromyalgia

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Fibromyalgia is a condition that affects nearly 5 million women and men—but mostly women—in the United States alone. Anyone who has fibromyalgia can tell of the constant chronic pain and relentless fatigue that are two of the syndrome’s signature symptoms. But the condition reaches beyond bodily pain and a kind of exhaustion that is not just physical, but mental and emotional as well. There are other indications of fibromyalgia that only the sufferer has any sense of, and it presents a hefty challenge to others around them—beloved family and friends—who want to understand what they are going through.

There are even some sufferers of fibromyalgia who don’t yet know the real name of their bane. They have the shared experiences and sufferings of other fibromyalgia patients, but have yet to be diagnosed. All they can be sure of is that they hurt.

These are some lesser known indicators of fibromyalgia. If you share in any combination of these symptoms, you might consider seeking professional diagnosis and treatment for this condition.


Unless you suffer from allodynia, it probably would never occur to you that patting a friend on the back or rubbing the shoulder of a loved one might actually cause them excruciating pain. Allodynia is the condition of having an increased sensitivity to touch, making normal contact cause great degrees of discomfort and pain.

There are a number of different reasons that people with fibromyalgia might suffer from heightened skin sensitivity. Chronic pain, a prevailing symptom of fibromyalgia, causes more than a third of people diagnosed with fibromyalgia to incur damage to nerve endings in their skin’s outer layers.It is the same chronic pain that causes itself to be amplified in the brain because of maladapted neurotransmitters dedicated to the relay of pain signals. Sometimes pharmaceuticals called NMDA receptor antagonists are prescribed to help. And only sometimes, they do.

The condition of allodynia also has connections to lacking restorative sleep. This is why exercise, physical therapy and techniques in stress reduction and relief are such common approaches in the treatment of fibromyalgia.

Heightened Sensitivity to Smell

This symptom of fibromyalgia is not far removed from the condition of allodynia because it is wrought and processed through the brain in a similar fashion. At any given moment, there is what can be considered an overwhelming amount of sensory input received—sounds, smells and sights—that all require energy in order to separate, categorize and process in the brain. When the brain encounters difficulty trying to sort through all the information at once, the input is reflected in heightened sensitivity responses. Fibromyalgia treatments tend to be whole-body oriented in nature. Sometimes medication that is usually prescribed for the prevention of seizures can be used to counter these elevated sensitivities.

Brain Fog

Brain Fog

This serious symptom of fibromyalgia, sometimes also referred to as fibro fog, is a very distressing effect of the syndrome upon its sufferers. It is highlighted by the inability to find or substitute words in common usage. It is accented by short-term memory loss and even sporadic episodes of utter disorientation that can last between 30 and 60 seconds with each incident. It is not uncommon to misspeak the names of loved ones and then delay some in finding the correct name upon realizing the mistake.

Brain fog tends to find its cause in a combination of factors that includes poor sleep and sleeping habits, deficient thyroid levels, and undiagnosed infections. An insufficient flow of blood to the brain’s temporal lobes that regulate speech is also usually a likely contributor to fibro fog. The standard thought among rheumatologists is that getting treatment andlearning better sleep habits from a qualified sleep specialist may be beneficial in thwarting this classic component of fibromyalgia.


A pricking, burning, or tickling sensation that comes from no visible source is called paresthesia. It is a common symptom of fibromyalgia, and may include numbness that seems to occur for no known reason. Paresthesia is sometimes believed to be an anxious or nervous response to the other symptoms of fibromyalgia. It is also sometimes characterized by deep, rapid breathing that can lead to tingling in the extremities—acroparesthesia—due to lacking carbon dioxide. As parasthesia is considered a type of physical response to mental or emotional anxiety, it is best treated by techniques for stress reduction and relief and an adequate amount of physical exercise.


Lipomas appear to emerge as lumps in various body parts. They are really benign tumors not wholly connected to fibromyalgia, but in fibromyalgia patients, turn out to be much more sufferable than most other people. The point here is that lipomas do not indicate the fibromyalgia syndrome, but a heightened level of discomfort because of them and the parts of the body in which they develop may be indicators instead. When lipomas develop, they tend to grow in the areas of the body that are most susceptible to inappropriate and excessive pain.

Excessive sweating

Sufferers of the fibromyalgia syndrome tend to sweat profusely without cause. They might be led to believe that they have a fever because of the similar indicators, though no rise in body temperature has occurred. The excessive degree of sweating is caused by dysfunction on the part of the brain, called the hypothalamus, that regulates automatic involuntary bodily functions like heart rate, gastrointestinal secretion and blood pressure. This symptom of fibromyalgia may be treated with a combination of pharmaceutical medication and specific adaptations to lifestyle aimed to help keep patients dry and cool as often as possible.

While many of these regular symptoms of fibromyalgia may be seen as irregular and unusual, nearly all of them respond positively to general approaches in treatment. It is always wise to be honest with your doctor about any and all symptoms that you encounter as well as their degree of seriousness. You must work together to develop a treatment plan and re-target those areas that don’t immediately respond to your first treatment approach.

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  • Valerie Clarkson

    Thank you for sharing. tried to share it with my husband but he doesn’t care.

  • Amy

    Thanks for writing this. I am currently in the throws of a fibro flare, by far the worst I have ever had. I am trying to look for treatment for the symptoms. I am currently only taking pre goblin, I wanted to know what others take to help with their symptoms. My husband is useless, he either doesn’t believe me or thinks I’m over exaggerating. This leads to many arguments with me left feeling alone. Does any body else experience this? Thank you Amy xx

  • Teresa

    I overheat very easily and sweat all over like crazy. No doctor has ever told me what is causing this. I have had fibromyalgia for about 10 years now.Is the fibro causing this?

  • Kathy Pappenheim

    Please keep the info coming. Some to most, of what I am reading is new to me. I’ve suffered with IBS, Fibro fog, and the sweeting and none of my Drs have ever told me that it can be part of Fibro. I was diagnosed about about 40 yrs ago by a Dr at the Oregon Health Sciences University OHSU, in Portland Oregon. Prior to that all Drs said it was “all in my head” and that “I just wanted to feel this way.” I take 50 mg of Amatriptyline and Lyrica for burning feet and leg pain. I have a myriad of other health issues.

  • Deb Brock

    I have so many of the symptoms Fibromyalgia. I’m going to talk to my doctor. However, I’m afaid of seeming like a hypochondriac. I’ve been told I’m overreacting. My husband is understanding, he just gets tired of hearing it. The fibro fog is so embarrassing. I’ve always been able to remember names & faces. I didn’t recognize my neighbor. I think she was insulted. I’ve felt so alone with this. Thank you for sharing and giving me someplace to voice it.

  • Georgi

    I have had the IBS and migraines since age 9. I was in a life altering accident in 2001 and suffered many injuries, the worst for me is a TBI. The Traumatic Brain Injury causes many of the same symptoms as the Fibromyalgia. Perhaps this is ‘ lucky ‘ for me in that I was diagnosed and there also were ‘legitimate reasons’ that one could see that caused some of my pain. Part of the TBI was short-term memory loss and ‘swiss cheese’ brain. I have lost chunks of time during my life, most significantly the entire year of 1966. I never used drugs as a kid and do not drink a lot so I know that this in not due to being a ‘child of the 60’s’ thing. I take 50 mg of Amitriptyline each day along with 1800 mg. of Gabapentin/Neurontin for the pain. The drugs certainly help for some of the symptoms, most notably the pain. The Amitriptyline was prescribed to me by the neurologist whom I saw for the brain injury as my vestibular/balance systems was ‘knocked’ out. This helps me to be able to stand and walk etc. altho I still have problems with it. The days when it hurts to touch my skin, I am able to just stay home and do nothing. As for the hugs etc., my family members are very aware of when I do not feel well and touching is off limits. I have always been a very touchy, feely person and so this is different for me. The fog is the worst when you are trying to talk and just cannot get the words out, or cannot recall a name and/or a person or a word that you have used all of your life etc. I let my friends and family know very early on that these things happen and when they do happen these people are very supportive. People around you do need to know that you are not purposely ‘snubbing’ them and that there is a problem. You need not tell all of your life story, I am sorry but that is funny because how many of us would even be ABLE to do that?? Letting people know that you have a problem is not asking for, okay THAT word will not come to me. This should have no stigma attached to it and we should not feel that it does. I don’t really talk about my fibro aches and pains to people because they would get tired of hearing it. I get tired of hearing myself complain in the morning when I cannot get out of bed. It is what it is, it is not going to leave you and you are the only one who is able to do something about it. If your doctor will not listen than change doctors, fire yours and go to a neurologist who will actually check you for signs and symptoms. Doctors are supposed to ‘work for’ you. If yours is not, than get rid of him or her. You deserve better.

  • Delores Murphy

    I have had Fibromyalgia for 14 years now which stemmed from a car accident. I finally found the combination that helps with all the different aspects of my pain. Ambien CR for sleep, Mirapex for RLS, Cymbalta for depression and mood, and Oxycontin twice a day for pain. These things are very helpful in controlling my being able to function and be semi-normal.

  • Evan

    Excellent article. My wife found this and passed it to me. It is very accurate and informative. It clearly explains the various symptoms that accompany Fibro that are so hard to explain and convince others they really exist. I was diagnosed almost 10 years ago and the only reason was because I saw my wife’s female doctor. Even now it is not universally accepted that men can have FMS. The age old attitude of “Suck it up and deal with it buddy” as has been applied to men since forever still exists. Fibro may be much more common in women but there are plenty of men that have it too. It is just as bad and may even be worse in males according to some studies. I have been dealing with it for decades and it is one of those things that may be eased to some degree by medical treatment but does not go away. I am 65 and have learned to simply deal with it most of the time. To a great degree that has been with the assistance of my loving wife of 43 years. Without her by my side I might well not be here.

  • Eileen

    I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2001, after going thru a neck surgery. In order to function and to continue to work, I had to take pain meds. But the stress of working really took a toll on me. The fibromyalgia fog and disorganization and forgetfulness was very hard to handle. I have since retired and can deal with life much easily now. Pain is still an issue but it is under control by taking Norco and pain patches. I suffer with IBS. which is still an issue. After reading about The Brain Fog, I thought Wow, this is me!!! That is the hardest thing to deal with, forgetting simple words and not being able to find the right word.

  • Karen

    I was diagnosed with fibro 2 years ago, after months of research, have found a combination of gluten-free diet, magnesium and malic acid to be amazing! Last year I could barely walk 100 yards without wanting to collapse in a heap, now I only have occasional flare-ups.definitely worth the try!

  • Jill Hargis

    All of you check out Lyme Disease. Many of these symptoms happen with Lyme, but it goes undiagnosed and wreaks havoc. Many of the Lyme blood tests don’t show positive when you really do have Lyme. Do some research. My daughter is suffering from Lyme and just started the Cowden Protocol… google it! Best to all of you!

  • Ingrid

    Thank you to everyone, newly diagnosed but i believe i have suffered with this for years. The worst questions in the world is how are you? I just lie and say fine, family says it could be worse i say i dont know how, pain everyday some worse than others and the chronic fatigue, migraines. Can anyone tell me will there ever be a day without pain. Thank you again atleast you understand.

  • Sandi Moore

    I had no idea my hair sweats were due to fibromyalgia and my sweating I chalked it up to menopause and I have what they told me were cysts all over my legs and head now I wonder about that also. My husband thinks I am crazy to which had led to numerous fights I am happy I read this.

  • Sylvia

    Hi, I currently am 42 yr, and have 2 tumors in my head. I suffer from chronic migraines and am on antidepressants, seizure medications, nerve meds and a whole lot of other meds… I also suffer from chronic back, neck pain, body aches and flu like symptoms. Can’t the forget memory loss, pins and needles in my head, and the random lumps(cysts)
    I see my neurologist almost every 3 months and she hasn’t mentioned fybro to me once. Idk, I’ve never known what fibromyalgia was until I’ve read your post. And it scares the crap out of me!! Cuz it sounds a lot like me!!

  • lorraine

    My maternal aunt has this and for years she has said for me to be tested as a lot of symptoms apply to me but recently the tingling flu like feelings are really getting to me when I spoke to gp he told me I could convince myself I had the condtion was wondering if anyone else had the same response off gp

  • kim warner

    I have had fibromyalgia for about 30 yrs. I am also an rn. I have been taking gabapentin and it helps with the pain and sweating. My love life has been greatlyy affected. My fiancee wants to break up because of it. No support.

  • Linda M Wanamaker DeGraw

    I thank you all for sharing all of your symptoms. I have Lipomas all over my left are,but on inside. Sometimes they hurt so much because the are sitting right on the nerves. I had a hysterectomy in 1996. about a yr ago I started getting menstrual cramps. It was crazy. How could that be? Now I know. Thanks to Bev for posting the weird things of Fibromyalgia. I feel normal now. I pray for all the sufferers that they somehow find some sort of relief.!!!!! :) <3

  • suzischnauzer

    If I may, I would run so far from a person who could not support me, and I mean emotional support. We suffer so much, and if your SO cannot deal, then they are not worthy of your affection. I lost all desire for sex, between fibro and menopause. But my husband of 25 years is still here, because we didn’t get married to have sex. I guess it plays a bigger role for some people, but at the end of the day marriage is for love and companionship. The couples we see who have been together for 50, 60+ years are not burning up the sheets. They have found a deeper level of love. And sex is not a huge part of it. If someone loves you, they take the good with the bad. Better you find out now, then after you are married. I’ve been there too. Gentle hugs.

  • joan carlow

    Ladies, my hubby is the same, he doesn’t think like that so much now, thank God. As he only needs to look at my face to see the pain I’m in. Wasn’t always like that. He thought I was ‘over exaggerating’. He still won’t listen or read anything I want him to. All he says is “he wants to know when I’ll be ‘over it!?’.xxx

  • Kandi Stapleton

    Hello all I have fibromyalgia very bad I’ve had this for at least 20 yrs. And there are days I cannot get out of bed. My loving husband is an awesome man, he is there for me through it all. Does anyone feel like your getting shocked with electric zaps!! And forget things. I have to take pain pills all the time and sleep pills or I don’t sleep and they are all from my pain dr.

  • Nancy Jo

    Kandi Stapleton
    Kandi I too have Fibro. I have the zaps in the evening in both shoulders. What works for me is I put ice packs on both shoulders every am to relieve any inflammation that there might be. For me this does successfully stop the “zaps.”

  • Nancy Jo


  • Nancy Jo

    I don’t think that most people really understand unless they have a chronic pain illness. If I ask my husband to get up and do something for me he sometimes gives me a annoying “Smirk!” I still ask him. He did say, “in sickness and in health!”

  • Angie Wilson

    Hi Amy,

    I was diagnosed in 2010. I’ve tried all the fibromyalgia meds out there. None of which gave me any long-term relief. I am currently receiving trigger point injections. I’ve had 2 treatments and so far and have noticed a little bit of relief. After my last injection my Dr told me I will need the 2nd tier of treatment. It’s called peripheral nerve blocks. I still have to research this. At this point tho I’m willing to try anything. I couldn’t.stand all the side effects of the meds. I wish you luck on your journey.

  • Angie Wilson

    Hi Eileen,

    What kind of pain patches do you use?

  • JoAnna Baird

    Kandi, I too suffer from Fibro. I get pins and needles kind of feelings and often muscle spasms that hurt so bad I want to cry. When I was switched to a different muscle relaxer, Tizanidine, that I take when the spasms start and at night I finally started getting some sleep!! I went from 2-3 hrs to up to 6! I don’t like to sleep longer than 6 because my pain meds are then out of my system and I wake up in more pain than usual. But it’s nice to finally get sleep at night when I’m supposed to sleep.

  • JoAnna Baird

    There is no way to tell if anyone will ever be completely pain free. The best thing is to find what works for you. There will be days that are better than others! I personally have a tendency to overdo it on the better days. Especially if it’s a really good day. Sadly, I end up paying for it by spending 1-3 days in bed in pain trying to recover for that good day. But I would rather do that and enjoy the good days when I can!

  • Juanita Blackwell Oconnor

    I was diagnosed in 97 and was told then that most doctors did not accept it. So true . As for pain free. I don’t think there is any one who could tell you that you will be pain free. I look for the days I can function despite the pain. I use the better days as a goal. Just try not to overdo on those days. Even the really bad days I do some things. I also have spinal stenosis which causes muscle spasms in my legs so if I have to sit on stool to do dishes I do it. The big thing is going to be to find a kind of middle ground. I had to learn that my house would not be as clean as I would like and had to give up somethings. And the biggest change I found helped was to be able to say no and I need some help.

  • JulieS

    It’s pretty ludicrous to say that FMS patients will become reliant on cannabinol. First of all, cannabinol has NO addictive qualities. Secondly, FMS patients have SO VERY FEW options for relief from chronic pain — is it really any wonder people self medicare? Thirdly, the statement that marijuana is natural and has no standardization is folly. There could be excellent quality over the huge number of strains that COULD be used to treat any number of diseases/conditions/illnesses if the FDA and the government would get their act together and acknowledge there’s a reason why human beings have Cannabinoid receptors! And lastly, FMS patients are no more likely to become “reliant” on cannabinol than we have been to the crap the pharmaceutical companies have been pushing for years — drugs with significant side effects for which we have no receptors! For example Lyrica. Cymbalta, pregabalin, ect… I don’t know about others, but these never did a thing for me as far as pain, and another, EFFEXOR, has one of the WORST withdrawal profiles of ANY drug on the market!!! It’s a nightmare – literally!
    So don’t get all holier than thou about any evils regarding “medical mj”. It’s a veritable miracle for so many people, and could be for SO many more