Pain and Fatigue: A Reinforcing Circle
The most common symptom of Fibromyalgia is pain. This pain can be dull and achy, or acute and sudden. The pain can occur in any part of the body and often begins without an outside cause. While many people experience muscle pain, others experience joint pain, and some experience both. Levels of pain and areas that are affected can change throughout a person’s life.(7) Most patients experience flares, or times when symptoms increase. Some patients experience periods of “remission,” or times when the symptoms are barely noticeable, but these intervals are rare. Therefore, pain management is essential to any Fibromyalgia patient.
The second most common symptom is severe fatigue. This symptom can vary in intensity and duration, just like pain. Currently, it is unknown if fatigue is directly caused by the syndrome, or if it is caused by pain induced sleep deprivation.(8) No matter what the source, the consequences are clear. Over three-quarters of patients report memory lapses, difficulty staying awake, interference in activities of daily living, absences from work, and disruption of social life.(5)(8) In spite of its prevalence, fatigue is often overlooked during diagnosis and treatment. Usually, Fibromyalgia patients find relief with good management of other symptoms.