What does fibromyalgia feel like?

The symptoms of fibromyalgia can vary from patient to patient, so there is no standard experience.

The Mighty features several first-person accounts about what it feels like to have fibromyalgia. One patient said “It feels like I got hit by a semi and ran over a train then someone is stabbing me with needles all over my body.”

Another said it feels like having a bad flu and an all-over body ache, while a third said it feels like the blood in her veins was replaced with cement.

“Sometimes the skin on my legs feels like it’s got a sunburn,” Diana said. “My bones will ache and throb. My joints feel hot but my hands and feet will be cold to the touch. Sometimes my myofascial pain will feel like a javelin stuck between my spine and shoulder blade that hurts so bad it hurts to breathe.

Kira McCarthy wrote about a day in the life with fibromyalgia, recounting her efforts to alleviate the pain in the evening before struggling to fall asleep. Many FM patients say they struggle to achieve restful sleep and are constantly exhausted.

She talks about waking up feeling like her body was beaten by a sledgehammer, and struggling to meet the demands of the day while managing pain and fatigue.

“By lunch time, the ringing in my ears has gotten louder than comfortable,” McCarthy writes. “It feels like there is an earthquake behind my eyes. I still feel like I have the flu. My whole body aches. I’m having muscle spasms in different places.

That pain and fatigue are bad in and of themselves, but many patients feel frustrated their symptoms prevent them from living the lives they want. The symptoms can force them to cancel appointments, skip social activities or miss opportunities to support loved ones.