Every day we see patients at our pain management clinic who struggle with various peculiar diseases and health issues. One of them is fibromyalgia – a chronic medical condition that causes fatigue and pain that spreads all over the body. Unfortunately, the exact causes of fibromyalgia remain unknown; it affects people of different age, ethnicity, and gender. It doesn’t spare even the rich and famous, recently world-famous pop star Lady Gaga has revealed that she herself suffers from this disease.
In today’s article, we are touching upon some of the unusual symptoms of this health issue that affects people not only physically, but mentally as well.
One of the symptoms of fibromyalgia is paresthesia. Fibromyalgia patients describe this condition as a prickling, tingling, burning, and/or a numbing sensation. These sensations are often accompanied with pain in different parts of the body, including the fingers, toes, hands, and feet.
Paresthesia might be a result of nervousness or anxiety and in some cases it may occur along with deep and rapid breathing. Depending on the cause, this condition can be either temporary or chronic.
Treatment of paresthesia is a matter of its underlying cause.
Also called “fibro fog,” this symptom is one of the most frustrating ones and it leads many people to distress. It’s a cognitive difficulty with focusing and recalling things. Patients who suffer from brain fog usually complain about the inability to find words or their substitutions, feel alert, or hold a conversation. They also have their short-term memory impaired. Physicians claim that there isn’t just a single cause of brain fog -- it typically results from a combination of many factors including infections and poor sleep.
Even though there is no pill that would take away brain fog, it is possible to manage it by strategies such as exercising your mind, getting enough rest, or writing things down so you don’t forget them.
You may not realize this, but sometimes a gentle touch may be extremely painful to some people. Those of us who wince when you pat them on their back or lightly brush against their arm may be suffering from allodynia. In some extreme cases, even cold or hot temperatures are painful to the patients who have this condition. It’s a very rare type of pain usually compared to sunburn.
This hypersensitivity to touch may occur due to a number of reasons. In about 30 percent of people with fibromyalgia, chronic pain leads to developing a small fiber neuropathy and strengthening of pain signals in the brain itself.
How do you treat allodynia? In our pain management clinic, we determine the underlying cause (it doesn’t always result from fibromyalgia) and recommend you any necessary medications or treatments accordingly.
This secret symptom of fibromyalgia is thought to be linked to allodynia. Fibromyalgia patients tend to develop a heightened sensitivity to smell and sound. Sometimes, they may also experience light sensitivity.
Fibromyalgia causes an extreme response to external stimuli, which include sound, smell, and light. As such, you may experience headaches, dizziness, or nausea when exposed to stimuli that cause a sensory overload.
To treat and/or prevent this, your doctor may suggest whole-body approaches to decrease sensitivities. In some cases, anti-seizure medication (gabapentin) may be prescribed.
It is also common for people with fibromyalgia to perspire more heavily than normal to the point that it seems they have a fever. This is caused by an autonomic dysfunction in the hypothalamus, the almond-sized part of the brain that serves as the link between the nervous and endocrine systems. As such, its primary function is to maintain the body’s homeostasis, which involves automatic bodily functions including sleep and perspiration.
This symptom can prove very inconvenient and at times, embarrassing. Fortunately, this can be managed through medication and lifestyle changes to help you stay feeling cool and dry.
These are benign, fatty lumps or bumps under the skin. In general, anyone can develop lipomas. It’s also worth noting that having fibromyalgia does not make one more likely to develop them.
However, fibromyalgia patients who happen to develop lipomas may need to take extra caution. For people without fibromyalgia, lipomas may not cause pain. Sadly, the same cannot be said about those with fibromyalgia. Often for fibromyalgia sufferers, lipomas develop in the parts of the body susceptible to pain. Additionally, they need to consult a professional to rule out Dercum’s disease, a rare disorder that causes painful lipomas.
Lipomas that do not cause pain generally don’t need treatment. However, if they make you uncomfortable, you can ask your doctor about lipoma surgery. Meanwhile, if lipomas cause minor pain, over-the-counter NSAIDS may be recommended by your doctor.
Dystonia is the last mysterious fibromyalgia symptom we are describing in this article. If your pain is accompanied by twitching muscles, it means that most likely you have dystonia. This condition is explained as an involuntary muscle spasm and it can affect one part of your body, several parts, or all of your body. The contractions can be mild or severe.
At our pain clinic, the patients who suffer from dystonia usually experience uncontrollable blinking, speech difficulties, neck contractions causing their head to twist and turn to one side (cervical dystonia), etc.
If you have fibromyalgia, we understand that you probably struggle not only with physical pain but also with emotions like anger, sadness, grief, or loneliness. After all, fibromyalgia forces those who suffer from it to change their lifestyle.
Nevertheless, remember that you can still enjoy your life even if you have to give up certain activities. Don’t let this “invisible illness” defeat you - contact our practice immediately.
Don’t worry, we recognize that each and every patient is different and requires personalized treatment. Our team of pain management professionals will do their best to help you deal with your health condition and live the life you deserve.
In our pain clinics we will tailor the best possible treatment plan for you depending on the severity of your condition
To make high-quality pain management treatments and services accessible to you, we have three locations ready to serve and assist you:
You may contact us to schedule an appointment at any of our offices or learn more about our services. We also encourage you to take advantage of our telemedicine for pain management.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.