Occasional Dyslexia as a Symptom of Fibromyalgia

Posted by on Apr 3, 2014 in Blogging Challenges, Symptoms | 14 comments

Occasional Dyslexia as a Symptom of Fibromyalgia

Many of you are aware that I took a lot of time compiling a list of 200+ Symptoms of Fibromyalgia and Co-existing conditions. If you haven’t seen the list and would like to check it out, feel free to click here. One of the symptoms listed is “occasional dyslexia.” This symptom is up for discussion today.

Recently, one of my wonderful readers emailed me to let me know that the term “occasional dyslexia” is offensive to the people who have dyslexia, because actual dyslexia is constant and doesn’t go away.” No one has occasional dyslexia, you either have dyslexia or not.”  I appreciate the fact that she took the time to let me know and I even understand the distinction and agree!

I am struggling to figure out what to say instead to describe a very difficult symptom of Fibromyalgia that is so similar to dyslexia though. Out of respect for my reader and for everyone else with dyslexia, I have changed the symptom on the blog post to read “139. Dyslexia-type symptoms occasionally.”

I haven’t changed it in the PDF yet though, because I’m not sure this is the best wording for it either.  I am looking for input on the best wording for this symptom, because I do not want to minimize the struggle someone who has dyslexia in anyway, but I also don’t want to minimize a symptom that many people with Fibro have experienced including myself.

So today, I want to explore the symptom a bit and see what you suggest for expressing this very real, common, and frustrating symptom of Fibromyalgia.


Let’s start with the learning difficulty called dyslexia. Dyslexia is a developmental reading disorder that makes learning to read, write, spell, and sometimes speak difficult.  It is a genetic problem and is NOT caused by any physical problem like eyesight, hearing, low intelligence, poor teaching, or emotional disturbances (although of course someone can have dyslexia and one or more of these other issues as well). Dyslexia cannot be cured and does not go away, but appropriate teaching can help people with dyslexia reach their full potential.

Difficulties with letters, words, reading, writing for Fibro

The symptom formerly called “occasional dyslexia” for Fibromyalgia mirrors some of the same characteristics of dyslexia like transposing letters, difficulty reading, and mixing up letters when looking at them or when writing. This symptom is believed to be a part of the “brain fog” or cognitive issues many people with Fibromyalgia deal with on a daily basis. The big difference between actual dyslexia and the symptom people with Fibromyalgia have is that it goes away for people with Fibromyalgia and simply doesn’t occur all of the time.

For people with Fibromyalgia, the brain is sending confused messages, making translating words or writing or reading difficult. Some theories as to what may cause the specific issue with words include lack of sleep, pain, brain fog, brain wiring, depression, underperforming thyroid, and side effect of medications.

A few studies, nothing conclusive though

There are also some people who have Fibromyalgia and dyslexia. According to one informal study, about 9% of people with Fibromyalgia also have actual dyslexia. Some research is being done to determine if they are interrelated.

A few small studies confirm that fibro fog and the cognitive dysfunction that comes with it is real and not just memory loss due to getting older. One study found that people with Fibromyalgia scored below average when asked to recall words from a list. Additionally, many scientists believe that pain is a contributing factor when it comes to memory problems and other issues including brain fog and dyslexia-like symptoms.

How should I word the symptom?

So I ask, what would be a better way to describe this symptom? I’ve considered “acquired dyslexia,” “symptoms mirroring dyslexia” and “dyslexia-type symptoms occasionally”.

What do you recommend?



“Autism/ADHD/Dyslexia and Brain Wiring…Fibromyalgia and Brain Wiring??” Women and Fibromyalgia. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2014. <http://womenandfibromyalgia.com/2010/02/07/autismadhddyslexia-and-brain-wiring-fibromyalgia-and-brain-wiring/>.

“Can Fibromyalgia Affect My Memory?” – Mental Effects of Fibromyalgia. Sharecare, n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014. <http://www.sharecare.com/health/fibromyalgia-mental-effects/fibromyalgia-affect-memory>.

“Review: Could Fibromyalgia Cause Dyslexia?” Could Fibromyalgia Cause Dyslexia (Developmental Reading Disorder). EHealthme, n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014. <http://www.ehealthme.com/cs/fibromyalgia/dyslexia>.




Hello Fibro Friends. My name is Emily. I have Fibromyalgia, but it doesn’t have me, at least not anymore! After coping with the chronic pain and other difficult symptoms of Fibromyalgia for more than a decade, I have learned wonderful ways to improve my quality of life and find inspiration in the world around me. My purpose in life is to increase Fibromyalgia awareness and understanding, while helping others reach an Inspired Life! I love teaching others how to not only cope with Fibromyalgia, but to actually excel at living an abundant, healthy, and inspired lifestyle.

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  1. What an inspiring blog! I love that you’re spreading awareness and using your voice to provide comfort to others. But I truly loved this link in your blog bio: “I have Fibromyalgia, but it doesn’t have me, at least not anymore!” So awesome.
    Chivon recently posted…Food for your heart & soul: 8 inspiring books to guide your self-care practiceMy Profile

    • Thank you! That statement is very true. For many years Fibromyalgia took over my life, but now my life is mine and I CHOOSE to try my best to help others get through it too!

  2. Nice post. Dyslexia seems to be one of “words” we use humorously when words or numbers are misplaced. But it’s much more serious that because it effects the way many of us do life.

    • Yes, it really isn’t a joke, but it is often used as one. This particular symptom when I am dealing with it is the most difficult, because I love to read and write, but it affects so many things.

  3. I have often wondered about these symptoms….I am learning disabled, but Not diagnosed as dyslexic….but have symptoms of such along side my problems with short term memory and attention span, thanks for “filling in the blanks” for me…it makes me feel a little less alone on the journey that is Fibro.

    • Your welcome for filling the blanks. The cognitive issues faced with Fibromyalgia are often ignored are misunderstood, because the focus is so heavily on pain and fatigue. This is a very real symptom that many people face. You are NOT alone! The Fibro journey has ups and downs, and you are welcome to stop by anytime!

  4. great post, my husbands family all have dyslexia, it missed him but his three children have it slightly

    • Thanks. Dyslexia is so much more common than many people realize.

  5. This reminds me of when I was looking for a diagnosis that looked like autism but wasn’t. I’m so glad that you are teaching us how to research. Sometimes that is the first challenge- knowing what to look for.
    Meredith Yeverino recently posted…Banish the monkey that does everything he seesMy Profile

    • Truly, knowing what to look for can help solve many mysteries!

  6. I am so tired of being sick all the time, sinking into a very deep darkness, isolating myself . . .

    • It can be so hard, but please try not to isolate yourself. Find a group, reach out to someone….join my facebok page and talk to people there if you like. You are NOT ALONE!

  7. My wife has Fibro and has suffered from Dyslexia but I never tied that together. She actually just lucked out about 5 weeks ago (after dealing with Fibro for 16 years). She went to a Chiropractor because of pain in her arm and the Chiropractor she went to go see turned out to be a Nutritionist that recommended that she get a food intolerance blood test. She had over 60 things pop up on her intolerance list with CHOCOLATE being number one (but it’s different for everyone). She has cut all the foods that has caused issues out of her diet for 5 weeks now and she’s doing better than ever (not fully back to “normal” but she says her pain is about a 3 when it was about a 7 most the time.

    Have you had any other people mention similar results? If you want to contact the Dr. he is FANTASTIC. I’m sure he would be happy to send you any info you need. His website is http://www.balance4lifechiropractic.com and his name is Dr. D’Souza. Good luck!
    Brice recently posted…Hello world!My Profile

    • They are two separate issues, but many people do have issues with symptoms similar to dyslexia and a disproprotionate amount of people with Fibromyalgia also have dyslexia. Diet can be a huge help with Fibro!

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