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FM Symptoms & diagnosis

Common FM symptoms

​Widespread pain

The widespread pain of FM is often described as aching, burning, throbbing, gnawing, shooting and tingling.  It can be localized, generalized, can feel like muscle spasms and can be scattered throughout the body.  It may be migratory, with pain presenting in one or more areas on one day and other areas on another day.


The fatigue of FM is much more than just being tired.  People with FM have described it as feeling like all their energy has been drained away.  It can be so profound that it interferes with even the simplest of daily tasks and activities.  Sometimes the fatigue can come on suddenly for no apparent reason and be very debilitating.  After short periods of exertion, a person may require long periods of rest to recuperate.

Non - restorative sleep

Sleep difficulties may be described as not being able to fall asleep, frequent night awakenings, unrefreshing sleep or waking up feeling as if you haven’t sleep at all.  Sleep studies show a deep-sleep anomaly in patients with FM.

Other common symptoms

Cognitive and memory problems

Includes memory lapses, problems with

concentration and comprehension, brain fog.

Irritable bowel syndrome

Frequent diarrhea and/or constipation,

abdominal pain, gas and nausea.

Morning stiffness

Often lasts for hours.

Chronic headaches and jaw and head pain

Related to the muscles and ligaments surrounding the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ).

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Some other symptoms that are often reported include

Muscle spasms and weakness, restless legs, disequilibrium, sensitivity to noise or other stimuli, light cold and drafts; itching skin, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, irritable bladder, clumsiness, non-cardiac chest pains and multiple chemical sensitivities.



What worsens symptoms?

Symptoms may be aggravated by changes in the weather, stress and either too much or too little activity. Flare-ups frequently occur a day or two after an activity and may take several weeks to settle down again.  It is often difficult to determine what causes the symptoms to flare, which makes the condition so unpredictable and difficult to regulate.



Complex Chronic Diseases Program (CCDP), BC Womens
and Childrens Hospital
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Canadian Rheumatology Association
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Complex Chronic Diseases Program (CCDP), BC Womens
and Childrens Hospital
Blue Line Stats.png
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