Symptoms and stages of fibromyalgia

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Fibromyalgia condition is still unknown to modern science. Though there is no proper research evidence to prove the actual reason why people get fibromyalgia, the symptoms and diagnose are made based on some experience from fibromyalgia patients.

A person with fibromyalgia can experience various symptoms as follows:

  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Pain in body parts
  • Sleeplessness
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Memory problems and inability to concentrate
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Tender points
  • Menstrual cramps with pain

Some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia can emerge as part of another primary disease an individual has.

But it will be necessary to treat the primary disease first and then go for treatment of fibromyalgia.

Various stages of Fibromyalgia pain syndrome

Various aspects of fibromyalgia is still a grey area to people and even doctors.

Doctors have identified that genetic factors can also be a reason for fibromyalgia where they are exposed to hypersensitivity pain.

The possible treatment is always directed towards the central nervous system to improve the conditions of fibro body.

Various stages of fibromyalgia, in other words, is divided into various subsets based on the condition of the patients. Details are as follows:

Predisposed state

Usually, in the predisposed state, the individual will not have any symptom and there is no presence of clinical fibromyalgia in this state.

The fibromyalgia can develop due to hereditary factor. As there is no symptom, the individual can’t even take any steps to control this situation.

This can occur if either both parents are already exposed to fibromyalgia or a sibling already diagnosed with symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Prodromal State

In this state, the individual is slowly led to the condition of fibromyalgia. Still, there will not be a trace of clinical fibromyalgia in the patients.

Pain will be experienced in some parts of the body which will not be widespread focusing on tender points alone.

Some of the core fibromyalgia symptoms may not be present in the individual but however symptoms like restless leg syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, headaches etc. can be seen.

We can even say that fibromyalgia is not present yet because there will not be persistent pain or widespread pain in the individual.

It is necessary that fibromyalgia pain should be experienced by the individual before they are exposed to clinical diagnosis of fibromyalgia.

There can be multiple associated conditions present but it is not enough.

Undiagnosed Fibromyalgia

This is the next state of fibromyalgia where the individual will experience chronic pain in either some of the parts of the body or in general.

The pain will be experienced in tender points that provides mild symptoms to actual fibromyalgia.

Usually, in this state, the individual will have the symptoms of fibromyalgia that they don’t usually expose to their doctors.

Some physicians will understand the symptoms and make a diagnosis.

 stages of fibromyalgia

Regional Fibromyalgia

The individuals experience pain in their body in a particular region and not a generalized pain. This is when they are diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

During this state, the individual will experience chronic pain in upper part of the body or in the lower back region of the body.

In this condition the basic symptoms are seen and also a severe pain is experienced in muscles and soft tissues of the body especially in the trigger points.

Generalized Fibromyalgia

In this stage, widespread pain is experienced by the individuals. There will be tender points identified in the diagnosis and they can still have generalized fibromyalgia symptoms with just a few tender points.

There are some common conditions that can be seen in the individuals who have generalized fibromyalgia.

They are depression, stress, fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, sleeplessness etc. People reach generalized fibromyalgia gradually from regional fibromyalgia.

The other factors like genetic, trauma etc. can also be considerable factors for this condition.

Fibromyalgia with Particular Associated Conditions

Some separate problems arise in the individuals who have developed associated conditions with fibromyalgia.

These associated conditions are usually separate and need to be addressed separately.

Associated conditions include tension or migraine headaches, fatigue, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression and irritable bowel syndrome.

These conditions will require additional treatment apart from the regular fibromyalgia treatment that is given.

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Fibromyalgia with Coexisting Disease

For some individuals, there can be complaints on other problems that they have and along with that, they will be having fibromyalgia symptoms.

It cannot be said that the other disease can possibly be a cause of fibromyalgia but it can aggravate the condition if it is already present in the individual. Some of the possible coexisting diseases can be

  1. Hormonal Problems – This includes hypothyroidism, low growth hormone, low estrogen and low cortisol.
  2. Low-grade connective tissue disease – This includes dry eyes syndrome, lupus, and autoimmune disorders.
  3. Infectious problems – This includes viral infections, yeast or parasite infections.
  4. Neurological conditions – This includes head injury residuals, neuropathy, polio sequelae and multiple sclerosis.
  5. Arthritic conditions – This includes osteoarthritis, scoliosis, osteoporosis, cervical spinal stenosis.
  6. Lung conditions – People who have the habit of cigarette smoking can be exposed to such conditions as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, asthma etc. and can also be due to heavy use of tobacco.

Secondary Fibromyalgia Reactive to Disease

In these individuals, the fibromyalgia condition would have got developed due to an already available disease.

Individuals will have fibromyalgia as a secondary disease. Most people will not have fibromyalgia if they had a primary disease.

But as part of treatment for primary disease fibromyalgia often develops. Fibromyalgia will, however, need its own treatment even after the primary disease is treated.

If diagnosed properly in the earlier stage of fibromyalgia, it can be very helpful to treat the patients easily with the help of the treatment programs available.

The patients can also try home based remedies for keeping the condition under control with the help of natural ways.

If the pain is in a particular area, it can be handled with many home remedies.

The experiences from various individual help in diagnosing fibromyalgia problems.

Adele Alexander is a medical advocate in the United States who has been living with fibromyalgia for seven years. She has used her experience managing and overcoming symptoms to help others in similar positions.


  1. What about people like me. I gave birth to my daughter and about a year and a half later I was having back pain, chronic constipation, and fatigue. Over the years it got worse, four to five years later I get endometriosis, start having pain in my shoulders, neck, and having headaches. Soon after my back and head would hurt and then my tummy would get bloated and hurt and my headache would turn into a migraine. I also now, 12 years after having my daughter, suffer from painful, sometimes shaky, and clumsy, less strong hands. I get frequent headaches, migraines, restlessness, anxiety, resless legs, trouble sleeping, fatigue, etc. What level would you can it? I am 31 and am a stay a home mom and can’t work due to the severity of my symptoms.

    • Go see a chiropractor. I look at your symptoms and it seems like subluxations.

  2. Michelle Johnson Reply

    I would say Generalized. I am 34 and have all the same symptoms as u and then some… also a stay at home mom and can’t work because of the symptoms. It’s so frustrating for me….

  3. Tracey Bone Reply

    Has any one been disabled off work due to the symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
    I have trouble with extreme tiredness. Some days I struggle to get out of bed. Some days I need to stop & have a sleep. Most days I fall asleep as soon as sit down when get home.
    I drive for a living, so this is a major problem. Once or twice i have nodded off while driving. To be woken by going over white bumps at side.
    Even if I change jobs, will a new employer be understanding. Also will I be able to stay awake??
    What do I do??

    • Dee Wilton Reply

      I am on disability now. …symptoms too bad now for me to work. I’m separated with shared care of 2 young boys. It is difficult to cope esp on days when I’m bad and is my time with the boys x

    • I’m on SSI because of the Fibromyalgia. It’s really bothersome. I struggle with it trying to figure out how I can get better.

  4. Hi Tracey well I’ve been disabled off work and it’s been 30 months now. My fibromyalgia has definately effected my employment to the point where I have been dismissed!!! Which impacted on my life and health as well. I decided to retrain and went back to college, I’m on my level 3 this year and it’s only 1 day a week. But it’s not easy, hopefully at the end I will be my own boss and have no one breathing down my neck or harassing me at home, which is my sanctuary. As for driving I don’t do it, unless I have to!!! All I can say is do what’s best for you and your health. Debs (age 51) xxx

    • Tracey Bone Reply

      Hi Debs. Thanks for your reply. Well done you for starting up on your own. I have absolutely no idea what I would do instead of this job. Fortunately work are reasonable about if I need to start a bit later & finish later. But it is mid afternoon that I feel I could do with a sleep, I struggle.
      I think though I would feel to guilty to be at home all day & live off benefits, because I don’t look ill & people will think I’m sponging.

  5. Did you guys find it particularly difficult to get your disability benefits started?

    • If you are in the USA it shouldn’t be too hard. Social security has made fibromyalgia an automatic disability.

  6. Mary Blankenhip Reply

    I have been on disability for FMS going on 15 years. I also work P/T at a very sedate job. Yes, you can collect disability and work, as long as the duties, hours and monthly gross pay fall with in the guidelines set by Social Security and the Ticket to Work Program (TWP). It’s ruff working, I have to get up at 4:30am just so I am ready to leave the house at 7:20am, and be at work by 8:00am. Why do I do it? I would blow my brains out if I stayed at home….
    I have a permanent disability placard on my car, I just love it when people ask “Who in your family is disabled?” and the reaction from them when I tell them its me. “You don’t look disabled….”. Yea, right, spend an hour in my body and you will be crawled into a fetal position begging for someone to put a bullet in your head. The migraines, the IBSD, the constant pain, and being treated like crap by the medical profession. Yipee Skippe, almost makes me want to tell people I have cancer, cause then they have some empathy.

  7. I often read people’s comments in which they state ‘I would feel guilty to not work and claim disability benefits because I do not look ill and people will think I am sponging’ I always think or comment the same reply ‘If you are able to continue to work and stay in employment on the base of what others would think of you if you left and needed to live on disability benefits. Then you are not entitled to claim you need disability benefits to live on, for you are still able to work. It is when the condition/pain/disability becomes too much for you to continue to work, no matter what you think others may say, that you will be entitled to disability benefits for you will no longer be able to work and there will be no choice about it’.


    i started getting pains in neck and shoulder and headaches and i thought it was flu and when i went to doctors as it continued for about month he send me off for blood tests and they came back negative. so he gave me some pain killers and try and see how you go. but pain got worse it now was travelling down to hands and i could not get out of bed . so he done referral to see consultant at local hospital i went to see July and diagnosed me with fibromyalgia . And he gave different medication . but since end of august it got so bad that i leave job as i was off more than i was in. i have been looking for work when i tell i got fibromyalgia they don’t want to know . so now i don’t know what to do.

  9. I agree that if you can force yourself to work your in the early stages of fibromyelgia, I started getting pain and brain fog about 5 years ago, back and forth to gp constantly and kept giving me painkillers which help and I was still working an gp didn’t know wot was wrong with me and then I got a huge abscess in my boob had it removed and I was worse than ever, I lived far from my home town couldn’t drive anymore I was a nervous wreck a danger to the road forgetting where I was going to hesitant at traffic lights, panic attacks on motorway, in the end all I could do was food shopping and school run, then had to give that up to, I moved back to my home town and got wot I thought was less strenuous than my previous job an after a year I had to leave and 2 years on iv been told by my gp that I have fibromyelgia and my symptoms are really bad now and I couldn’t work if my life depended on it and there’s nothing wrong with claiming from the government we are entitled to claim if we’re being honest xx

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