Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that’s characterized by muscle stiffness, pain in the joints, tenderness, and fatigue. It can be extremely debilitating and very difficult to diagnose.
Something that we perhaps don’t associate with fibromyalgia is skin complaints, but it’s actually a common problem for people suffering with the disorder – from skin rashes to breakouts, the skin complaints of fibromyalgia sufferers can range from mild acne through to severely inflamed skin. In fact, it’s thought that between 70-80% of fibromyalgia sufferers have to deal with skin problems that are associated with their illness.
Types of Skin Complaint
Many of the skin complaints listed below are seen occurring alongside one another and they can often become chronic ailments.
The skin color can change from a healthy pink to a mottled, dark color. The skin often changes tone and color, and dark spots can appear all over the body as a result of hyperpigmentation, but in fibromyalgia sufferers they tend to appear on the forearms and on the legs.
There are a vast amount of treatments available for mottled skin, but we advise that you try natural remedies at home first. These include using natural skin lighteners, such as lemon juice or apple cider vinegar on affected areas of skin. Laser treatment is also an option for people who are severely affected.
Skin rashes can develop anywhere on the skin and they tend to develop as a result of dry skin or scratching. The rashes are often red, with raised bumps, and they can feel scaly to the touch if they’re particularly severe.
Skin rashes are likely to go away on their own with time, but if a rash is particularly large or itchy, it may be worth taking a trip to a dermatologist, just to see if there are any medicated creams that could help with your symptoms.
Many sufferers of fibromyalgia complain that their skin feels particularly tender when touched, and this is commonly referred to as allodynia. It’s thought that this problem is a direct result of the brain’s nervous system, whereby the brain cannot read pain signals correctly – resulting in tender skin. This can be an incredibly painful symptom for some people, whereby simply wearing clothes and walking can cause their skin to feel inflamed and even bruise.
This symptom is very difficult to treat. You’ll need to see a specialist who understands your problems, possibly in conjunction with a dermatologist. Ask your PCP for more information.
Some fibromyalgia sufferers complain of a constant itchy sensation across their skin. This can be caused by rashes or simply by skin contact. It can be a very frustrating symptom, as scratching the itch can cause skin to be opened and can introduce infection, thus repeating the cycle.
There are skin creams that are available that mask the itching sensation in the skin, whilst soothing it, ridding you of your symptoms. However, if your itch is being caused by a rash, these sorts of cream will not get rid of the problem.
Causes of Skin Complaints
It’s still relatively unknown as to why exactly fibromyalgia sufferers have to deal with skin complaints, too, but it’s thought that the majority of these skin complaints can be explained by the deficiency within sufferers that causes pain signals to fire incorrectly. It’s also been speculated that sufferers may have excess melanin within their skin, which causes the mottled skin appearance.
Ultimately, if you’re suffering from any of these problems, you should go to your PCP and see what they can do to help you.