The signs of FMS include aches and pains in muscles, tendons and joints all over the body, but especially along the spine. Some people feel more pain when they try to relax and less when they are active, busy or exercising.
Other symptoms include:
- Disturbed sleep
- Daytime tiredness
- Alternating diarrhea and constipation
- Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
- Feelings of weakness
- Memory difficulties
One characteristic of FMS is the presence of multiple tender points. This refers to specific points in the neck, spine, shoulders and hips that feel tender.
Causes and Risk Factors
The exact cause of fibromyalgia is not known. It is not associated with injuries to muscles, nerves or joints nor to any serious body damage or disease. FMS affects more women than men and occurs in people of all ages. In some people, FMS is associated with measurable changes in body chemistry and functioning, but it is not known whether these changes are causes or effects of FMS.
Stress and difficulty sleeping may contribute to FMS because lack of restful sleep can decrease the body's production of the chemicals needed to regulate pain. Other factors (such as illness, infection or anxiety) may also cause changes in body chemistry that lead to these symptoms.