Research has shown that a disruption of a phase of sleep called “deep” sleep alters many crucial body functions, such as the production of hormones needed to restore muscle tissue, as well the levels of substances that control how a person perceives pain. It is clear that sleep problems can aggravate fibromyalgia symptoms and attention to improving sleep is an integral part of managing this disorder.

The fatigue and other symptoms people with fibromyalgia experience may be similar to another condition called chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Because of this, many individuals with fibromyalgia also meet criteria for this illness. Other overlapping “labels” for people with this same collection of symptoms include somatoform disorders and multiple chemical sensitivity.

Mood and Concentration Symptoms
Changes in mood are a common symptom of fibromyalgia. Feelings of sadness or being down are common, and some people with fibromyalgia have depression. People with fibromyalgia also may feel anxious. Some researchers think there is a link between fibromyalgia and certain forms of depression and chronic anxiety. However, any person with a chronic illness – not just fibromyalgia – may feel depressed at times while struggling with their pain and fatigue.

People with fibromyalgia may have difficulty concentrating or performing simple mental tasks. These problems tend to come and go, and are often most prominent at times of extreme fatigue or anxiety. Similar problems have been noted in many people with mood changes, sleep disturbances or other chronic illnesses.

Other Problems
Headaches, especially tension headaches and migraine headaches, are common in people with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia may also be associated with pain of the jaw muscles and face (called temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ syndrome) or myofascial (skeletal muscle) pain in just one region of the body. These are sometimes considered forms of regional, localized or incomplete fibromyalgia.

Abdominal pain, bloating and alternating constipation and diarrhea (called irritable bowel syndrome or spastic colon) also are common. Bladder spasms and irritability may cause frequent urination or the urge to urinate. Chronic pelvic pain can also be experienced. Additional problems that may be associated with fibromyalgia include dizziness, restless legs, endometriosis, and numbness or tingling of the hands and feet.