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  • Writer's pictureCourtney Hutson


It wasn't until 1990 that the American College of Rheumatology defined Fibromyalgia as a syndrome.

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic pain disorder characterized by widespread pain, fatigue and sleep disturbances! Fibromyalgia presents with an ever-changing set of symptoms that cause chronic pain in muscles and joints. Fibromyalgia is not caused by inflammation.

This affects roughly 4 million US adults or about 2% of the population. Women are twice as likely to have fibromyalgia as men.

In the next section we will go deeper into each of the symptoms!


Points of Tenderness

Until recently, positive palpation for 11 of 18 tender points in specific locations of the body were in the primary diagnostic tool for fibromyalgia.

Tender points can be soft and quite mushy on palpitation, and typically produce pain when little pressure is applied.

Clients with fibromyalgia, there is a predictable pattern of tender points. These points are bilateral, in all quadrants of the body, very specific.

The locations of the tender points are:

  1. The back of the neck, where the base of the skull and neck meet

  2. Forearms, near the crease of each elbow, below the crease and towards the outer side of the arm

  3. Front of the neck located well above the collarbone, on either side of the larynx

  4. Where the buttock muscles curve to joint the thighs

  5. At the very top of the buttocks, right at the bottom of the lower back

  6. On the inside of each knee pad

  7. Where tendons and muscles meet as the back muscles connect to the shoulder blades in the upper back

  8. Just above the upper back, halfway between the edge of the shoulder and the bottom of the neck

  9. On either side of the sternum. a few inches below the collarbone (near the second rib)



Symptoms can vary person to person and day to day, as well as within a day for a person.

People with fibromyalgia do not experience pain the way other people do. Their pain is not due to an inflammatory condition, but rather their central nervous sisters is hypersensitive to pain messages.

General Symptoms

  • Delayed reactions to physical exertion or stressful events

  • Sweats

  • Unexplained weight gain or loss

  • Cravings for carbohydrates or chocolate

  • Headaches & migraines

  • Vision changes (worsening)

Cognitive/ Neurological Symptoms

  • Difficulty speaking known words/language

  • Directional disorientation

  • Poor balance & coordination

  • Parenthesis in the upper limbs (ringing & burning)

  • Loss of ability to distinguish colors

  • Short-term memory impairment

  • Confusion or Mental Fog (Fibro-Fog)

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Staring into space before brain "kicks in"

  • Inability to recognize familiar surroundings

Sensory Symptoms

  • Sensitivity to odors

  • Sensitivity to pressure changes, temperature & humidity

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Night driving difficulties

  • Sensory overload

Sleep-Related Symptoms

  • Light and/or broken sleep patterns with unrefreshing sleep

  • Fatigue

  • Sleep starts (falling sensation)

  • Twitchy muscles at night

  • Teeth grinding

Abdominal & Digestive Symptoms

  • Bloating & nausea

  • Abdominal cramps

  • Pelvic pain

  • Irritable bowel syndrome

  • Urinary frequency

Muscle & Tissue Symptoms

  • Pain that ranges from mild to severe and may move around the body

  • Morning stiffness

  • Muscles twitches

  • Diffuse swelling

  • Fibrocystic (lumpy, tender) breasts

Sinus & Allergy Symptoms

  • Allergies

  • Post nasal drip

  • Runny nose

  • Mold & yeast sensitivity

  • Shortness of breath

  • Earaches & itchy ears

  • Ringing ears (tinnitus)

  • Thick secretions

Emotions Symptoms

  • Panic attacks

  • Depression

  • Tendency to cry easily

  • Free-floating anxiety

  • Mood swings

  • Unaccountable irritability

Heart-Related Symptoms

  • Mitral valve prolapse

  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia, postural orthostatic tachycardia)

  • Pain that mimics heart attack, frequently from costochondritis

Skin, Hair & Nail Symptoms

  • Pronounced nail ridges

  • Nails that curve under

  • Mottled skin

  • Bruising or scarring easily

  • Hair loss (temporary)

  • Tissue overgrowth (non-cancerous tumors called lipomas, ingrown hairs, heavy and splitting cuticles, adhesions)

Reproductive Symptoms

  • Menstrual problems

  • PMS

  • Loss of libido

  • Impotence


Massage & Fibromyalgia

Direct touch are not appropriate for people with acute pain or flares up!

During flares up or pain reflexology or craniosacral therapy is the best option!

Massage helps reduce the pain levels, increase circulation of blood carrying oxygen and nutrients to cells, increase sleep at night , improves mood

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