What are the main fibromyalgia symptoms?

Anyone living with fibromyalgia will tell you there are so many symptoms. In fact, before I was diagnosed I use to try to remember them all when I went to a new specialist by working through the parts of my body and listing all the symptoms in each part. For example head was scalp pain, blurry vision, tingling in lips and jaw pain and a feeling I could not relax my jaw. As you can see there are a lot of unrelated, unique symptoms and not every person will get all of these and they will not get them all at the same time as the symptoms fluctuate. 
So here I will be listing the main symptoms that most people get.  
tender point symptoms in Fibromyalgia
18 Tender Points of Fibromyalgia 
(scroll down for image with more detail)

One unique thing about fibromyalgia is the 18 tender points on the body.  These are specific locations, in the diagram above, that hurt when pressed. People who do not have fibro only feel pressure, not pain, when touched on these points. 

These are the main symptoms of Fibromyalgia:

Widespread, chronic, muscle pain and tenderness (tender points)

· pain in arms, legs, neck, shoulders, back, hips

Often with:
· Morning stiffness
· Headache
· Fatigue
· Sleep disturbances including insomnia, inconsistent sleep  patterns, unrefreshed sleep
· Memory problems
· Light sensitivity
· Dizziness
· Numbness/tingling in arms/legs

Sometimes also:
· Irritable bowel syndrome
· Bladder control problems
· Depression
· Anxiety

 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) fibromyalgia tender points 1990 classification criteria

If you are trying to get a diagnosis of fibromyalgia (FMS) you may want to see the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria for diagnosing fibromyalgia. This was endorsed in 2010. Prior to this the tender points were used as a major diagnostic tool. Now that we have the 2010 criteria it does not mean that the tender points have magically gone away. They can still be used as a diagnostic tool but they are only part of what is needed.  Here is an excerpt from the ACR. 

If you are looking for a more in-depth list I suggest you go to MORE INFORMATION ON SYMPTOMS OF FIBROMYALGIA

Thanks for dropping in today and if you have just been diagnosed you may want to sign up for my coping tips for living with fibromyalgia. I have been living with fibro for 20 years and have found many helpful ideas to help you reduce the many symptoms you may have. 


  1. As a fibromyalgia sufferer and therapist who works on fibro folks in the Albuquerque area, I know all too well how it feels to have this condition.

    In my case my fibro was triggered by food allergies and cutting out those foods has made a world of difference. I also do Electro-Lymphatic Therapy to keep my lymph moving and Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) therapy. I use these as a practitioner and personally.

    I would encourage people looking for natural ways to treat their symptoms to check out these therapies with therapists in their geographic areas.

    1. Hi Shannon, it's so great to hear from you especially as you are both a Fibro therapist and someone who understands personally. Natural therapies are the only way to go for me as most medications cause me more side effects than they help. I've had food intolerances all my life and feel the gut plays a huge part in all chronic illness.


Thanks for your input