Early Signs of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a condition that is chronic–meaning long-term–in which you experience non-specific pain around your body. This pain also may make you feel fatigued and weak much of the time. The problem, the Mayo Clinic states, is that fibromyalgia often is hard to diagnose. Age and sex influence who gets fibromyalgia, meaning women and older people more frequently have it. It often occurs after trauma of an emotional or physical nature.

Overall Pain

The Mayo Clinic calls the type of pain you experience with fibromyalgia “widespread.” It often has been described by sufferers of the condition as an ache that is dull and constant. It may start in your muscles and spread. The definition of “widespread” as the Mayo Clinic uses it is pain throughout your body, from head to foot. It can be sparked by external conditions, such as being active physically and changes in the weather.

Upper Body Pain

Along with the overall widespread pain characteristic of fibromyalgia, you also may experience some specific types of pain as well. Much of this may occur above your waist. For example, sufferers of fibromyalgia often report early signs of the condition as pain at the back of their heads or in the area between the shoulders in their backs. The top part of your shoulders also may ache, as well as the front and sides of your neck. Chest pain, while it is a sign of many potential problems, including heart conditions and respiratory problems, also may occur with fibromyalgia. Your elbows also may be painful.

Lower Body Pain

Pain also may occur in specific areas below your waist. For example, you may get pain in the upper portion of your hips or on the left or right sides. Your knees, particularly the inner part, also may be painful when you have fibromyalgia.


Fatigue or an overall feeling of exhaustion can occur because of many things, from strenuous activity to side effects from medications. However, fatigue is a characteristic of fibromyalgia as well. The Mayo Clinic reports this may be linked to other early symptoms of fibromyalgia, such as not being able to sleep restfully. Sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome are two sleep disorders also associated with having fibromyalgia.

About this Author

Carole Anne Tomlinson has been a registered nurse working in a variety of medical environments for more than 25 years. She now serves as the nursing supervisor for a chemical dependency facility. She has also written numerous articles for a variety of websites.