Does Fibromyalgia Cause Pain In My Legs?

By Ben Loomis – DSC_9441.jpg, CC BY 2.0,

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease that causes widespread pain in the body. The pain is caused by a problem with the way the nervous system handles pain signals. Fibromyalgia also induces symptoms such as tiredness, exhaustion, and mental fog.

Doctors may not immediately recognize fibromyalgia when treating these forms of symptoms, since pain is often common to many other conditions. That’s one explanation why it takes an average of five years for people to get diagnosed with this condition.

Knowing the type and position of your pain, and what other signs you have will help your doctor make a decision. The earlier you get diagnosed, the quicker you can start medication to alleviate your symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms

The key symptom of fibromyalgia is discomfort and tenderness of muscles and joints in the body. The pain may change from place to place, but in order to meet the requirements for a diagnosis, you would need to have endured pain for at least three months. The pain must be in a certain number of parts of the body and must be above a specific severity level. And you’re not expected to have any disorder (like arthritis) that might explain the discomfort.

Fibromyalgia also causes a number of other symptoms, such as:

  • fatigue
  • lack of energy
  • trouble sleeping
  • depression or anxiety
  • memory problems and trouble concentrating (sometimes called “fibro fog”)
  • headaches
  • muscle twitches or cramps
  • numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
  • itching, burning, and other skin problems

Most severe symptoms

Fibromyalgia pain may be severe and persistent. It may be serious enough to keep you at home from work and other events. In the National Health Interview Study, 87 percent of participants reported feeling pain most days or every day of their lives.

Fibromyalgia may also cause extreme emotional symptoms. About 43 percent of the Trusted Source of People in the National Health Interview Study had anxiety and depression that were serious enough to need treatment. Of all the symptoms of fibromyalgia, fatigue can have one of the greatest impacts on your life. Constant fatigue affects more than 90% of people with the disease.

Fibromyalgia fatigue is not common fatigue. It’s a bone-weary fatigue that drains the body’s resources and turns any task into a chore.

About 40 and 70% of people with fibromyalgia also have painful symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, such as:

  • Diarrhea and/or constipation;
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Nausea

Up to 70% of them have daily stress or migraine headaches, which are often intense. Headaches can be caused by painful muscles of the head, neck, or shoulder.

Other Possibilities

Something else that may cause that shin-splinter pain, and that’s normal with fibromyalgia, is myofascial pain syndrome. has a nice example of how trigger points at the hip (x’s) cause radiating pain (red areas) to the outside of the body: Lateral Leg Pain. (This site is a must for those with MPS.)2

Is it possible for fibromyalgia to mimic shin splint pain/ITB syndrome/myofascial pain syndrome? Oh. Sure. Fibromyalgia is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to pain. But it’s worth looking for other reasons, since those other sources of pain are typically much easier to handle.

Are You Looking for Relief From Neck Pain?

Pace Physical Therapy in San Jose, California specializes in non-surgical neck pain relief and recovery therapies.  We pride ourselves on offering the best possible physical therapy available and going above and beyond for our patients. Our highly experienced physical therapist will work with you to improve your function and relieve your pain. We start by assessing the body as a whole. Oftentimes the cause of pain or an injury extends far beyond just the body part or muscle hurting. Without taking a comprehensive look at your entire self, we would be doing you a disservice in fully helping you heal and preventing future limitations. We then move on to fixing your areas of limitation.  Not all diagnoses are created equal. One person with neck pain may have completely different limitations than the next person. Your recovery program needs to be specific to what YOUR body needs and not just the typical exercise program that you can find online. Just because your pain decreases or you can walk longer doesn’t mean that it is enough to get you functioning at the level you want to be. While this often signifies the end of care at your typical PT clinic we don’t stop providing guidance until we help you successfully meet every goal you set for yourself with us on day one. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!