Fibromyalgia often starts out as a question mark — you might notice unusual symptoms, but not have any idea where they came from or why you’re feeling this way. You might not even realize you have an illness, instead being told you’re “just getting old” or it’s “just how you are.” Though fibromyalgia is different for everyone, there are some signs a person might recognize if they, too, have fibromyalgia, a disorder characterized by widespread pain, fatigue, cognitive issues and sleep disturbances.
There is no official “test” for fibromyalgia, and many people encounter skepticism and judgment when they attempt to find out if they have the condition. Fibromyalgia symptoms can also look similar to other illnesses, making it difficult to diagnose. So we asked our Mighty fibromyalgia community to share signs that might indicate a person has fibromyalgia. If these signs look familiar to you, consider following up with a medical professional. And let us know in the comments if there are any signs we missed.
Here’s what our community told us:
1. “Constantly feeling run down, exhausted, and sick. You never feel 100 percent, ever.” — Jessi E.
2. “Constant lactic acid burn in your thighs. Twenty-four/seven burning like you’ve done the hardest spin bike class ever.” — Cathi C.
3. “Widespread pain, fatigue, and losing the ability to keep up with everyday tasks.” — Kristin S.
4. “I noticed that some days I could ride my bike easily and other days it felt like the tires were flat. Likewise, some days I felt like there were sandbags tied to my limbs. Moving pain — I’d get one area treated and it would shift elsewhere — I kept trying to find the source.” — Marian V.
5. “Not being able to get to sleep even though you’re so tired, but pain keeps you awake.” — Betty Anne B.
6. “Feeling like your muscles and joints are on fire and your bones are breaking inside your body with every move you make… add on headaches, spasms, and insomnia that makes you tired all day long and brain fog that has walking around into rooms and not remembering why you went into that room.” — Melissa Anne C.
7. “Feeling like your arms are on fire with a major sunburn or acid running down your arms most days: worst pain ever!” — Pam B.
8. “My first symptom was restless sleep. Waking up 30 to 50 times per night and waking up feeling like I didn’t sleep at all.” — Traci T.
9. “Pain all over. Stabbing pain if someone touches you. Person may use crutches, a rollator or a wheelchair. Constant exhaustion. Insomnia. Person may stay in bed a lot. Short-term memory loss. Migraines. Intolerance to noise, light, smells. Always run down/flu-like feeling. Nausea and heartburn. Weekly trip to the pharmacy for medications and coming out with a whole carrier bag full.” — Sarah B.
10. “For me, the first sign was exhaustion. At only 12 years old I was needing naps to get through the day.” — Meghan W.
11. “‘Growing pains,’ you might not have the energy as your peers, and you are more aware of any pain or change in your body.” — Vinnie B.
12. “Fatigue and pain all over. My brain fog was so bad in the beginning. Sensitivity to cold, hot, wet, dry. Migraines. Nausea every day. Sleeping for hours and never having energy, even from staying in bed all day. Some days, can’t get out of bed. Then great the next day.” — Eloise T.
13. “Honestly, the clearest sign is when you have chronic pain, fatigue, and memory issues but doctors can’t seem to find a cause.” — Alicia T.
14. “Feeling like no matter how much sleep you get, you’re still utterly and completely exhausted. Aching and shooting pains all over your body. Forgetting a word mid-sentence.” — Ali M.
15. “Waking up feeling like you’ve been hit by a truck nearly every single day.” — Jessica I.
16. “Symptoms of other illness, for me trigeminal neuralgia. Not sure if I have it now or if it is fibro-related facial pain.” — Laura D.
17. “My husband was diagnosed with this at the Mayo Clinic this year. One thing we didn’t realize was a symptom that went along with his chronic pain was the sensitivity to light and heightened smell. We had no idea that was fibro related.” — Ashley H.
18. “The slightest touch on certain parts of your body hurts insanely. Body pains that can’t be alleviated with regular painkillers (ibuprofen, Tylenol, etc). You have other autoimmune diseases that are being treated but you’re still having issues.” — Kiera B.
19. “Flu-like overall pain that never goes away.” — Heidi J.
20. “One failed diagnostic test after another while your chronic pain, fatigue, muscle spasms, and brain fog continue to get worse and worse…” — Terri D.