You hear a lot about “fibromyalgia pain,” but those of us with fibromyalgia (FMS) experience various types of pain.

Medically speaking, just some of the types of which I speak here of pain have names and definitions. But just as the Eskimos have many words for snow, I think we need to have several ways to name, define and categorize our pain. I made some of my own categories, based on my experience and conversations with other FIBROMITES.
My hope is that understanding of medical terms will help us better communicate with doctors while my categories will help you understand your illness and let you know you are not alone.

Types of Pain
The first three types of pain of fibromyalgia are medically defined:

painful paresthesia
The following four types are my own creation, which is obvious by their names. Do not use these terms in a doctor’s office (unless you want to be seen as crazy), but these labels can help you to know the peculiarities, triggers, defaults, etc.:

Knife in the voodoo doll
randomly roving pain
Nerves rattled
First, our types of medically defined pain.


“Hyper” means excessive and “algesia” means pain. Hyperalgesia is the medical term for amplification of pain in FMS. Our brains seem to take signs of normal pain and “increase the volume”, making them more severe than normally would be.

And when your brain says the pain is severe, guess what: it really gets serious.

Most drugs used for the management of pain FMS aim, at least in part, reduce hyperalgesia.


Your skin is painful to the touch? A symptom that perplexed many of us is allodynia. This is what is called when the gentle pressure of clothing or gentle massage causes pain.
Many people describe allodynia as similar to a bad sunburn.

Allodynia is a very rare type of pain – with the exception of FMS is associated with only a handful of conditions including neuropathy, post-herpetic neuralgia (shingles) and migraine.

It is believed that the allodynia is a hypersensitivity reaction that may result from central sensitization associated with FMS. Pain signals originate from specialized nerves, called nociceptors that detect information about things like temperature and painful stimuli directly to the skin.

painful paresthesia

Paresthesias are strange nerve sensations that can feel like crawling, tingling, burning, itching or numbness. Sometimes these feelings can be painful. Paresthesias are also associated with peripheral neuropathy, chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis and migraine.

Many common treatments FMS can help relieve pain associated with paresthesia, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin reuptake inhibitors, norepinephrine (SNRIs). Some people also have good luck with vitamin B12, capsaicin cream, massage and acupuncture.

My Own Pain Categorias

Again, the following categories are not medically recognized – are things that I created to fill a gap in how we classify the different types of pain.
They are intended to help you track symptoms, assess the effectiveness of treatments and let you know you’re not crazy.

Knife in Voodoo Doll

Sometimes, out of nowhere, I’ll have an intense stab of pain that seems to cut my body. I also described this as a fireplace poker in the ribs or be impaled on a spear.

For me, the voodoo doll pain is often the early warning system of my body. Tells me that I need to stop what I am doing and rest. Other times, I have no idea why he attacks.

I usually get this pain in my chest or abdomen, but some people say they get it in other body parts.

It can be so intense that it can bend me over and do it hurt to breathe. Usually disappears and after a few minutes.

I have no idea how to avoid this kind of pain, and stimulate me. (If I could find that darned doll ….)

Randomly pain Roving

This is one of those things that reminds the FMS just does not make much sense. Many of us get the pain that migrates around the body, moving sometimes between certain places, sometimes striking into new areas.

If you also have myofascial pain syndrome can be especially difficult to say randomly wandering pain referred pain caused by trigger points.

Burns Sparkler

A July 4, when I was young, I hung on a sparkler for a long time and some sparks hit my hand. They caused little pins pain sensations almost identical to that now regularly get.

Sparkler-burning pain makes me jump, and scratching the painful points triggers tactile allodynia. These sensations usually last only a few seconds. I have no idea what the triggers and how to prevent them.

nervous Rattled

Most people will not understand why I call this kind of a pain, but I’m sure that most fibromatos will get it.

Certain things tend to put my whole body on edge, nervous, and feeling rattled. It makes me all about pain, and sometimes I get nauseous, dizzy and anxious.

Things that rattle my nerves usually involve sensory or emotional overload, such as:

Certain sounds (repetitive, loud, shrill, grating)
visual chaos (crowds, flashing lights, busy patterns)
Stressful situations (busy traffic, confrontation, confusion or disorientation induced fibro-fog)
when my nerves are shaken, try to get out of the situation as soon as possible and relax, preferably somewhere quiet.

Living with pain

It’s hard to live with pain, especially when it is unpredictable. The more you learn about your pain and your triggers, the better you may be able to manage it.

Finding the right set of treatments takes time and experimentation, but many of us find significant relief.

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