Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Last Updated: April 6, 2022

Fibromyalgia is a nonspecific pain disorder with currently unknown causes, although supplements are still being investigated for the purpose of reducing this pain.

What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a syndrome that is mainly characterized by widespread chronic (>3 months) musculoskeletal pain. If severe enough, people with FM can have trouble performing activities of daily living, such as working or basic self-care tasks. Currently, there are no standard treatments.[1]

What are the main symptoms of fibromyalgia?

Chronic widespread pain is the most common and well-known symptom. However, further research has found that people with FM also experience a myriad of symptoms, such as:[2]

  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Migraines
  • Anxiety/depression
  • Digestive disturbances
  • Sensitivity to odors, lights, and sounds.
How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?

Diagnosis is based upon a thorough clinical evaluation from a healthcare provider. Currently, there are no tests for diagnosing FM. Since the symptoms of FM can also be caused by many other health conditions, other causes must be ruled out before making a definitive diagnosis. [3]

How is fibromyalgia managed, medically?

FM is typically treated with a combination of lifestyle changes and pharmacological interventions. [4]

Lifestyle changes that may be implemented include:

Medications that may be prescribed include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Antipsychotics
  • Medical cannabis

The treatment must be tailored to the individual's responses to any of the previously mentioned interventions.[3]

What’s the connection between diet and fibromyalgia?

Some studies found that dietary changes can improve symptoms of FM. However, the quality of these studies was poor and varied in their dietary interventions. More randomized controlled trials are needed to understand the relationship between diet and FM.[5]

Have any supplements been studied for fibromyalgia?

Since there are no standard treatments for FM, dietary supplements are often used to ameliorate symptoms. The supplements with the greatest amount of research are vitamin D and Coenzyme Q10. With that being said, the findings are inconsistent and more evidence is needed before recommendations can be made.[6]

Are there any non-medical treatments for fibromyalgia?

If initial therapies are not effective, people with FM may pursue alternative treatments to reduce symptoms. These treatments include:

  • Massage
  • Chiropractic
  • Acupuncture

The evidence surrounding these interventions is scarce. Therefore, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional before implementing any alternative treatments.[3]

What causes fibromyalgia?

The cause of FM is unknown. Current research suggests that environmental and genetic factors may play a role in the development of FM. Nonetheless, more research is needed before any conclusions can be drawn. [3]

Examine Database: Fibromyalgia Symptoms
What works and what doesn't?

Unlock the full potential of Examine

Get started

Don't miss out on the latest research

  1. ^Rosalba Siracusa, Rosanna Di Paola, Salvatore Cuzzocrea, Daniela ImpellizzeriFibromyalgia: Pathogenesis, Mechanisms, Diagnosis and Treatment Options UpdateInt J Mol Sci.(2021 Apr 9)
  2. ^Daniel J ClauwFibromyalgia: a clinical reviewJAMA.(2014 Apr 16)
  3. ^The content of this page was partially adapted from MedlinePlus of the National Library of Medicine
  4. ^
  5. ^Laura Tomaino, Lluís Serra-Majem, Stefania Martini, Maria Rosaria Ingenito, Paola Rossi, Carlo La Vecchia, Fabrizia Bamonti, Luisella VignaFibromyalgia and Nutrition: An Updated ReviewJ Am Coll Nutr.(Sep-Oct 2021)
  6. ^Giuditta Pagliai, Ilaria Giangrandi, Monica Dinu, Francesco Sofi, Barbara ColombiniNutritional Interventions in the Management of Fibromyalgia SyndromeNutrients.(2020 Aug 20)
Examine Database References
  1. Low-FODMAP Diet - Ana Paula Marum, Cátia Moreira, Fernando Saraiva, Pablo Tomas-Carus, Catarina Sousa-GuerreiroA low fermentable oligo-di-mono saccharides and polyols (FODMAP) diet reduced pain and improved daily life in fibromyalgia patientsScand J Pain.(2016 Oct)
  2. Coenzyme Q10 - Miyamae T, Seki M, Naga T, Uchino S, Asazuma H, Yoshida T, Iizuka Y, Kikuchi M, Imagawa T, Natsumeda Y, Yokota S, Yamamoto YIncreased oxidative stress and coenzyme Q10 deficiency in juvenile fibromyalgia: amelioration of hypercholesterolemia and fatigue by ubiquinol-10 supplementationRedox Rep.(2013)
  3. Vitamin D - Florian Wepner, Raphael Scheuer, Birgit Schuetz-Wieser, Peter Machacek, Elisabeth Pieler-Bruha, Heide S Cross, Julia Hahne, Martin FriedrichEffects of vitamin D on patients with fibromyalgia syndrome: a randomized placebo-controlled trialPain.(2014 Feb)
  4. S-adenosylmethionine - Jacobsen S, Danneskiold-Samsøe B, Andersen RBOral S-adenosylmethionine in primary fibromyalgia. Double-blind clinical evaluationScand J Rheumatol.(1991)
  5. DHEA - Axel Finckh, Isabelle Carey Berner, Bérengère Aubry-Rozier, Alexander Kai-Lik SoA randomized controlled trial of dehydroepiandrosterone in postmenopausal women with fibromyalgiaJ Rheumatol.(2005 Jul)
  6. Vitamin D - David S Arvold, Marilyn J Odean, Maude P Dornfeld, Ronald R Regal, Judith G Arvold, Gene C Karwoski, David J Mast, Paul B Sanford, Robert J SjobergCorrelation of symptoms with vitamin D deficiency and symptom response to cholecalciferol treatment: a randomized controlled trialEndocr Pract.(2009 Apr)
  7. Coenzyme Q10 - Elísabet Alcocer-Gómez, Jose Antonio Sánchez-Alcázar, Mario D CorderoCoenzyme q10 regulates serotonin levels and depressive symptoms in fibromyalgia patients: results of a small clinical trialJ Clin Psychopharmacol.(2014 Apr)
  8. Creatine - Avi Leader, Daniella Amital, Alan Rubinow, Howard AmitalAn open-label study adding creatine monohydrate to ongoing medical regimens in patients with the fibromyalgia syndromeAnn N Y Acad Sci.(2009 Sep)
  9. Coenzyme Q10 - Cordero MD, Cano-García FJ, Alcocer-Gómez E, De Miguel M, Sánchez-Alcázar JAOxidative stress correlates with headache symptoms in fibromyalgia: coenzyme Q₁₀ effect on clinical improvementPLoS One.(2012)
  10. Vitamin D - J F de Carvalho, F A G da Rocha Araújo, L M A da Mota, R B Aires, R P de AraujoVitamin D Supplementation Seems to Improve Fibromyalgia Symptoms: Preliminary ResultsIsr Med Assoc J.(2018 Jun)
  11. Creatine - Christiano R R Alves, Bianca M Santiago, Fernanda R Lima, Maria C G Otaduy, Ana Luisa Calich, Aline C C Tritto, Ana Lúcia de Sá Pinto, Hamilton Roschel, Cláudia C Leite, Fabiana B Benatti, Eloisa Bonfá, Bruno GualanoCreatine supplementation in fibromyalgia: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trialArthritis Care Res (Hoboken).(2013 Sep)
  12. Cannabis - Carolina Chaves, Paulo Cesar T Bittencourt, Andreia PelegriniIngestion of a THC-Rich Cannabis Oil in People with Fibromyalgia: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical TrialPain Med.(2020 Oct 1)
  13. Saffron - Mansoor Shakiba, Ehsan Moazen-Zadeh, Ahmad Ali Noorbala, Morteza Jafarinia, Parisa Divsalar, Ladan Kashani, Nazila Shahmansouri, Abbas Tafakhori, Hannaneh Bayat, Shahin AkhondzadehSaffron ( Crocus sativus) versus duloxetine for treatment of patients with fibromyalgia: A randomized double-blind clinical trialAvicenna J Phytomed.(Nov-Dec 2018)
  14. Magnesium - Selda Bagis, Mehmet Karabiber, Ismet As, Lülüfer Tamer, Canan Erdogan, Ayçe AtalayIs magnesium citrate treatment effective on pain, clinical parameters and functional status in patients with fibromyalgia?Rheumatol Int.(2013 Jan)
  15. Coenzyme Q10 - Mario D Cordero, Elísabet Alcocer-Gómez, Manuel de Miguel, Ognjen Culic, Angel M Carrión, José Miguel Alvarez-Suarez, Pedro Bullón, Maurizio Battino, Ana Fernández-Rodríguez, José Antonio Sánchez-AlcazarCan coenzyme q10 improve clinical and molecular parameters in fibromyalgia?Antioxid Redox Signal.(2013 Oct 20)
  16. L-Carnitine - Rossini M, Di Munno O, Valentini G, Bianchi G, Biasi G, Cacace E, Malesci D, La Montagna G, Viapiana O, Adami SDouble-blind, multicenter trial comparing acetyl l-carnitine with placebo in the treatment of fibromyalgia patientsClin Exp Rheumatol.(2007 Mar-Apr)
  17. Iron - Chad S Boomershine, Todd A Koch, David MorrisA Blinded, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study to Investigate the Efficacy and Safety of Ferric Carboxymaltose in Iron-Deficient Patients with FibromyalgiaRheumatol Ther.(2018 Jun)
  18. Chlorella - Merchant RE, Carmack CA, Wise CMNutritional supplementation with Chlorella pyrenoidosa for patients with fibromyalgia syndrome: a pilot studyPhytother Res.(2000 May)
  19. Vegan Diet - K Kaartinen, K Lammi, M Hypen, M Nenonen, O Hanninen, A L RaumaVegan diet alleviates fibromyalgia symptomsScand J Rheumatol.(2000)
  20. Cannabis - Tine van de Donk, Marieke Niesters, Mikael A Kowal, Erik Olofsen, Albert Dahan, Monique van VelzenAn experimental randomized study on the analgesic effects of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis in chronic pain patients with fibromyalgiaPain.(2019 Apr)
  21. Vitamin D - Atalay Dogru, Ayse Balkarli, Veli Cobankara, Sevket Ercan Tunc, Mehmet SahinEffects of Vitamin D Therapy on Quality of Life in Patients with FibromyalgiaEurasian J Med.(2017 Jun)
  22. Coenzyme Q10 - Sawaddiruk P, Apaijai N, Paiboonworachat S, Kaewchur T, Kasitanon N, Jaiwongkam T, Kerdphoo S, Chattipakorn N, Chattipakorn SCCoenzyme Q10 supplementation alleviates pain in pregabalin-treated fibromyalgia patients via reducing brain activity and mitochondrial dysfunctionFree Radic Res.(2019 Aug)
  23. D-Ribose - Jacob E Teitelbaum, Clarence Johnson, John St CyrThe use of D-ribose in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia: a pilot studyJ Altern Complement Med.(2006 Nov)
  24. Red Light Therapy - Yeh SW, Hong CH, Shih MC, Tam KW, Huang YH, Kuan YCLow-Level Laser Therapy for Fibromyalgia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.Pain Physician.(2019-May)