Widespread Pain

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Do you currently suffer from widespread pain that is making it difficult for you to keep up with your daily activities? Did you know that widespread pain is one of the primary symptom parameters  used in diagnosing Fibromyalgia?  If widespread persistent and unexplained pain has been making your days and nights almost unbearable, then you need solid answers about what’s causing the pain and how to approach treatment. The following information will help you to better understand Fibromyalgia and the widespread pain commonly associated with it.

 What Does Fibromyalgia Pain Feel Like?

Fibromyalgia pain is different from the regular aches and pains you might feel when your muscles have been overworked or when you’re getting over an illness.  Fibromyalgia pain does not necessarily follow as a normal response to external factors such has particularly hard exercise, accidents or abnormal muscle exertion.  Fibromyalgia pain may become extreme despite there being no apparent reason or trigger associated at all. Fibromyalgia pain is broad, pervasive pain that typically occurs in all four quadrants of the body over an extended period of time. Unlike arthritis pain, which is inflammation based and includes swelling, Fibromyalgia pain most often occurs without swelling or inflammation. Fibromyalgia pain can be described as a persistent, gnawing, deep muscular and connective tissue pain. It tends to get more or less extreme without any apparent correlation to one’s daily activities, though careful tracking of personal data may show a Fibromyalgia flare up can be traced to particular activities, foods or other causal actions.

Fibromyalgia pain tends to manifest itself differently in most patients. There is no single definitive description of what Fibromyalgia pain may feel like, and how it tends to feel even for one individual may change over time.

What Are Some Common Fibromyalgia Symptoms?

Widespread and chronic pain is the key factor in diagnosing Fibromyalgia. Chronic pain is typically characterized as pain lasting three months or more. While all sufferers of Fibromyalgia deal with pain, they might experience pain in different ways. Some patients report shooting pains coming and going continuously over a long period of time, others feel aching pain that stays with them at all times. Fibromyalgia pain can also be manifest as deep pain, tender pain or pins and needles. Besides widespread Fibromyalgia pain other commonly reported symptoms are fatigue, depression, anxiety, and trouble remembering and focusing on daily tasks known as “Fibro-Fog”.

What Parts of the Body are Affected?

Many patients report feeling Fibromyalgia pain in all 4 quadrants of the body – the pain is widespread existing above and below the waist as well as on both the left and the right sides of the body.  Sufferers of this medical condition might also feel pain in and near different tender points on their bodies. Physicians will check for pain in the lower back, knees, buttocks, and shoulder and neck as these are common tender points in Fibromyalgia patients. 

While the presence of pain defined as 11 of 18 recognized “tender points” being active used to be a core criteria for the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, today this counts for less than the presence of “widespread pain”.  Pain measured over a period of time in all 4 quadrants of the body that may come and go and vary in intensity but which is persistent and not otherwise explained is the primary pain associated diagnostic criteria accepted by most doctors today. This means that Fibromyalgia can and often does impact all areas of the body -  no body part or area is immune to the impact of Fibromyalgia.

What Causes Fibromyalgia Pain?

Unfortunately, the medical community is still struggling with developing a real understanding of Fibromyalgia. The good news is that over the past several years more and more physicians are joining the quest to find solid answers for the lingering questions about Fibromyalgia. One of these questions concerns what exactly causes Fibromyalgia to occur. Recent studies have shown that the pain in Fibromyalgia could be the result of a chemical processing problem occurring in the pain signals of the brain. Fibromyalgia patients may be born with a lower threshold for pain than the average person,  though this trait may take may years to emerge.  Having a lowered threshold for pain means that Fibromyalgia patients can experience magnified feelings of pain, even if the stimulus wouldn’t cause the average person any pain at all.   This heightened reaction to stimulus by the brain’s pain signals may be what causes pain in Fibromyalgia patients to feel so extreme. Some physicians have also tried to link Fibromyalgia to abnormalities in the muscles though no definitive evidence exists to support such claims to date.

Influences Associated with Fibromyalgia Pain?

Certain external and internal factors may influence the intensity of the pain that patients feel. Some of the most common factors associated with pain in Fibromyalgia patients are extreme tiredness and true fatigue, stress and anxiety, depression, poor diet and lack of exercise, over doing it exercising, and even extremes in the weather. Many patients also report feeling heightened pain in the morning just after waking up. This pain may fade during the day only to return in full force in the evening or late at night.

Pain Locations and Prevalence for Diagnosis?

Pain locations and prevalence play a major role in the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia pain. While pain comes hand in hand with numerous medical conditions, Fibromyalgia pain has some characteristics that help physicians and patients differentiate it from pains caused by other conditions. The gold standard in diagnosing Fibromyalgia pain is chronic and widespread pain occurring in all 4 quadrants of the patient’s body that is  not linked to other understood causes and is persistent over a significant period of time.

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