Is Fibromyalgia A Form of Myopathy?

fibromyalgia and myopathy

Fibromyalgia is a type of condition that can lead to a lot of debilitating symptoms. Among these are mental fog, chronic fatigue and chronic pain. However, the condition mainly involves overall muscle pain and weakness. This is why fibromyalgia is sometimes associated as a form of myopathy.

What is Myopathy?

Myopathy is an umbrella term for muscle diseases which lead to the dysfunction of muscles fibers. There are several different conditions can affect the muscle tissues and it can be broken down into several different categories:

  • First, there are the dystrophies that affects the way the muscle tissues regenerate after damages. Generally, these conditions are progressive and this means that over time, they could destroy the heart and lungs’ ability to function well.
  • Certain forms of myopathy is caused by the body’s inability to process nutrients and feeding nutrients to the muscles.
  • Finally there are certain types of myopathy that could lead to genetic abnormalities and affect the muscle cells’ ability to replicate.

Is Fibromyalgia A Form of Myopathy?

Myopathy can lead to several different symptoms. It generally leads to the weakness of muscles that makes moving extremely difficult. Myopathy can also cause pain and stiffness in the muscles. As you can see, the symptoms of myopathy and fibromyalgia are rather similar. However, fibromyalgia does not fall into the standard category of myopathy. This is because myopathy is primarily due to a defect in the muscles. Unlike myopathy, patients of fibromyalgia do not show any inflammation or any abnormality in muscle tissues. Thus, it is likely that the pain as a result of fibromyalgia does not really come from the muscles themselves.

Furthermore, fibromyalgia is not really a progressive dystrophy and does not seem to come with any nutritional component in the same way as other myopathies would.


Instead, a lot of researchers have proposed that the root of fibromyalgia lies within the nervous system. The main idea behind such theory is that there are certain malfunctions in how the body processes pain. In normal cases, when muscles are injured or damaged, your nerves transmit signal into the brain and perceive these as pain.

However, with fibromyalgia, your nerves fire signals into the brain although there is no actual damage done to the muscles. The most common explanation for this is that the brain itself is actually abnormal. Research shows that those who have fibromyalgia have reduced blood flow in the areas of the brain that process pain. This reduced flow of blood could explain why your brain cannot process pain properly.  As a result, such miscommunication can lead to the weakness and pain of the muscles.

How to Prevent Muscle Weakness in Fibromyalgia?

One of the main reasons why fibro patients feel weakness in their muscles is because of the lack of physical activity. Thus, doctors highly recommend patients to exercise on a regular basis to help strengthen the muscles and lessen the severity of the symptoms in the long term. However, the type of exercise you do is very important as it can either improve or worsen your symptoms.

The type of exercise that are best suited for fibromyalgia is light low impact exercise such as walking, stretching, swimming, warm water aerobics, yoga, taichi etc. Doctors recommend a mere 30 minutes each day. If you find that the exercise you do is not helping you, it could be that you are doing the wrong type of exercise. Approach a physical therapist when necessary as they can better design an exercise therapy plan customized to your needs.

57 Comments

  • Really???? Lack of exercise!!!???? I don’t think so…. when I do too much work, moving around, exercise, or whatever… I can’t move the following day. Most times for more than one day. I find when I take more breaks I can get more done.
    I do believe also that it is neurological. I have nerve pains, zaps, pins, burning, aches on a daily basis. The pain can be anywhere in my body including my abdomen and chest.

      • I also feel the same way I would get up in the morning I fix me something to eat and I would eat my breakfast and a lot of times I try to clean the house I couldn’t do much I had to lay back down everything wore me out and all I want to do is sleep. People don’t know how much pain you are in until they’re in it you can sweep the floor and there you are in the bed.. When I exercised I would do it 3 times a week but I did it’s easy stuff I didn’t work out hard and it just hurt me too bad I went through therapy same thing I did it for however long the doctor want me to do it and it hurt me it’s like they expect you to know they tell you it will make you better but you know men that don’t have fibromyalgia as a doctor and they tell you they want you to do all this stuff and a lot of people can’t do it all they want to do is keep giving you drugs and drugs and drugs

    • I have been working out in the gym for a year now and I hurt the next day. I don’t feel strong any more. I am 64 and very active. I work 5=6 days a week. I found that taking 30 minute soaking baths in Epson salt from Saltworks.com really helps me sleep better. Sometimes I wake at 2 am and need to bathe for 20 0r 30 minutes and go back to sleep. This really helps and a few drops of essential oils such as lavender or lemongrass helps too. My worst complaint is the nerve activity I feel in my legs when laying down. Gravity pulls on the fascia and then this weird activity in the legs start. I don’t feel this is RLS either. It’s the fibro. Foot reflexology massages also help. I spend so much time trying to feel better and work thru all the discomfort. I refuse to take any medication for fiber. also….

      • I agree. Even Chiropractic adjustments, which are good, will make my fibromyalgia worse with in hours like exercise.

    • I agree with you when i did exercise i couldnt even move the next day. Some one doesn’t know what they are talking about

      • Deborah, I totally agree with you!! I have had fibro for over 12 years and all they push is drugs and more drugs and tell me to exercise. I can barely hold my body upright let alone exercise. If these doctors knew how badly we feel they wouldn’t say such stupid things. For me exercise only makes it worse. Feeling your pain!!! Sherry

      • I have had fibro since I was born and I will be 59 this month . And I have found out that anything done repetitiously causes more pain

    • I agree Jane. I have found the same results with my own body. Unless you live with fibro and how debilitating it can be, people shouldn’t give a blanket piece of advice. Like everything, it is just one or several “doctors” advice to just keep moving. One size does not fit all . Just my opinion.

    • Hi Jane…
      I know completely how you feel.. I have fibro so bad that I’m housebound for days, I find it funny also when specialists say “ oh you must exercise to help you. If only they knew what we go through after we’ve tried exercising… I hope your ok and resting as much as you can… blessed be my love Sarah

    • That’s me exactly.the more I do the more pain,tiredness,fogginess,concentration,burning,stiffness occurs.

    • Jane, I agree with you 100%!!! Every time I get in an exercise program even mild exercise I flare up for days. The writer is probably saying that I am just using this as an excuse. During the winter I forced myself to walk on a treadmill and do Pilates. I ended up with a broken foot, a staph infection in my foot and was down 3 months with pain and slow healing. I too have pain and fatigue everywhere.

  • I agree with Jane Shriver. I have pain ALL OVER my body. I can’t sit, stand or lay for very long because of the pain. When I’m standing, I’m constantly swaying. When I’m sitting, I’m constantly moving my legs(RLS). when I’m lying down, my body hurts so I’m constantly moving to get comfortable, which causes increased pain. What am I to do with all of that, I ask?!?!

  • I agree jane shriver! I have found much relief from fibro symptoms by doing yoga, fasting and following a ketogenic diet. I was near bedridden and this lifestyle has turned my life around. Im am semi active again and functional in daily life! But i still cant overdo or I’ll pay for it the next day!

    • I’ve do the same I went to a herbalist she really helped. Did all the Doctors things first nothing worked So go for a slow walk and do yoga nothing hard it will help mentally. 26 years for me I’m 67

      • You are right I am 82 and have had fibromyalgia since 32 and I worked all those years ..mostly walking ..mailclerk and I found you have to pace yourself ..I do not do exercise but I have a little raised garden ..I find tiredness is my main problem as I can sleep 12 hours straight and in a few hours ready for a nap ..there is a difference besides walking too fast or hard ..you walk slow ..like you would doing housework ..I do not give in to pain ..the more you dwell on it the worse it gets..have purpose when you walk

  • No!!!!!!!!!! I was very active before I had my accident. then I got fibermyalgia and it has taken my life away from me. I had to file for disability. I also believe it is neurological. It has ruined my life. I hurt from my shoulders to feet.

    • Dawn, I completely agree. It is very much a neurological issue not a psychological issue. I am sorry you are feeling so bad…honey, you are not alone. I can now predict how bad a storm will be based on how I feel. Barometric pressure changes are the absolute worst. Praying for you to find some relief.

  • Yoga has been instrumental for me with FM. Diagnosed over twenty years ago. Definitely restorative yoga is vital for me along with magnesium glycinate

  • My doctor does not feel fibro myalgia is real. Can you tell me if there is a special doctor if you can see who can do a test to determine if you have it? My family dr acts like the pain is in your head.

    • You need a different doctor. I suggest a neurologist. They a specialists in the field and car run multiple test to determine what exactly is wrong. I went to one for my se ere migraines and after he ran multiple test I discovered I had several major problems. One of those was a aneurysm in my left carotid artery that I was completely unaware of and needed surgery to correct it. I would have died if it had ruptured.

    • It is real. I have it also. Got treated like it was in my head. I went to a rheumatologist and he’s the one treated me like I was nuts. Gave me medicine made it worst and start hallucinating and hearing things that wasn’t there.
      Go till you find someone that believes you I did. My pain level at that time was way beyond a 10. Now I’m so much better but it’s a job to work at it. I to pay the next day if I do to much and also have RS if I do to much. I notice mine when I’m trying to relax and that’s when that kicks in. Stretching helps me after excercising. I haven’t stretched lately like I should, it got to the point that’s all I was doing all the time, but it helps.

    • Your doctor is a nutbag—find someone else!
      If this person is a male, ask him to imagine his testicles in a vise and see how he feels about that! I simply have no use for ignorant doctors—they need to close up shop…

  • I agree with dawn , fibro has ruined my life in fact I feel I have no quality of life at all , I’m in pain constantly just plain simple housework is a big struggle for me and takes twice maybe 3 times longer longer than before I had it , changing a duvet is a nightmare I have to keep stopping and sit for a while and of course on top of all that the depression sets in because you can’t live a normal life anymore , as for exercises there is no chance I could do any , from head to feet I’m also suffering

    • Get yourself to a DR that understands FIBRO (there are many now)! Find a WARM
      WATER POOL (90+) for gentle excercise. I have been doing that for 11 years & it is the best thing (3x a wk). Many more meds to try & many naturals too. Do NOT just stay at home & suffer, please

    • Banda, your words are mine exactly. My hands and fingers hurt just to type you. Don’t ever give up I am try every medication I can. If I find a winner I will post it.
      Lori

  • I myself do water therapy once a week. I do well with that to keep my body exercising. I feel refreshed. I hurt from head to toe, i could not walk without water treadmill. I have many other things going on as well but, water feels good. Warm water therpy..

  • I have Fibromyalgia! I’ve had it over 25yrs; it had no name then, so doctors said, “it’s in your mind.” My take on it was, because they couldn’t physically see it, they thought it was a mental thing. My first Rheumatologist that I went to introduced himself to me, and I to him. I’ve had these symptoms of Fibromyalgia since 1991 and wasn’t diagnosed until 2000.We both sat down, and he told me to tell him what was going on with me, and I let it ripped(while he listened and made notes). He let me talked until I finished; and my last words were, “and this is not in my mind, it’s in my body!” He said, “I know it’s not in your head!” He had a series of test done stat (had a lab in his facility), and several things were ruled out, but, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. From the notes he’d taken from listening to me about symptoms that I was experiencing, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome also(there are no test for them with bloodwork)! Exercise, doing house work or anything like that, have me hurting for days with Fibromyalgia flares, and If my RA flares at the same time (which it’s happened several times simultaneously), I have a “super” whammy! Physical exercise is definitely not my friend; if it was a way that some of the people who suggest this stuff, could magically get Fibromyalgia and experience this pain, I’d love to be there to watch how much exercise they could do!!!

  • With Fibromyalga is real, it is a medical condition. I got Fibromyalga and it flares along with muscular migraines and also cause heel spurrs, in both feet by the arches. Who ever has fibromyalga please seek treatments threw a neurologist and go for an MRI, and ask about physical therapy with the whirl pool. They then can tell you if you get better or worse. There is also a connection that it can cause other things like MS, Lupos, and other muscular disorders. I also have invested for myself a foot and leg message machine and it helps, I got it from the bed and bath store and use a coupon there and yes you can use expired store coupon from there… wish everyone well. But seriously seek options like I mentioned in this post earlier…

  • I can’t tell you how many articles I’ve read that say ” light workouts are going to help fibromyalgia ” one reason is that the pain meds have taken most of my memory. I do some stretching & yoga before I get out of bed, but it’s hardly anything that would help me loose weight. When it’s not hurricane season I do swim in the pool but suffer the next day. Learning how to balance is key, being 48 & diagnosed in 2000 I’m still trying to obtain balance. I’m a go getter & worked since I was 15. Burned the candle at both ends and worked out 5x a week. Fibromyalgia has robbed me of my life & exercise isn’t going to fix it. Sorry

  • I believe it is a central nerve system that is hyper sensitive. When I went to the dentist he stated that the novacain doesn’t react with me the way it does with most patients. He has to gI’ve many more doses than most and one time gave me the maximum allowed.

    All my senses are hyper sensitive, light, sound, touch, cold air is actually painful on my skin. That is not muscular.

    When I do any significant exercise I usually end up in bed for a couple of days afterward. I gave up on any type of exercise other than doing as much walking during the day as possible depending upon my fatigue level. If I’m pretry fatigued I don’t walk much, because I’ll be drained of energy very quickly with brain fog setting in.

    Looking back this has been a life long problem, but got worse with age and each trauma increased the sensitivity until I finally have chronic pain and sensitivity wit few days each year where I feel like a normal person.

  • You apply for disability through the Social Security office. The application can be submitted through their website. I did my app this way, received an appointment with their doctor in about a month and was informed of my approval in a few weeks. Although at the time I was barely able to get out of the car at the doctor’s office, I was in a horrible flare at the time. I have heard all sorts of horror stories about difficulty getting disability, but, I found the process fairly simple. You will need any pertinent medical information that relates to your condition.

  • I did warm water aerobics and I felt terrible. If I did three days then I couldn’t go for at least three weeks due to severe pain. I had to cancel my gym membership because I couldn’t find anything there I could do without causing more pain

  • I’ve been a waitress for 2yrs. 10hr. shifts 4 days a week with ample beaks. So no exercise doesn’t help. Finally had to change jobs.

  • I’ve had fibro for 19 years. I’m allergic to narcotic pain relievers and can’t afford Lyrica. I started acupuncture a year ago. I get some relief from that. I also use CBD ointment. I tried the oil but the ointment works better for me. I can’t remember what it’s like to be pain free. I walk almost every day and I pay for it. Exercise doesn’t help this person. My heart goes out to all who have this debilitating disease.

  • I have been diagnosed with fybromyalgia many years ago and suffered greatly until I read an article in the daily mail about oxalates and how they can effect some people. If I stick strictly to a low oxalate diet I can pretty much completely loose all symptoms. The research is out there why aren’t doctors wising up.

  • I agree that if I do anything that exerts my body, I hurt the next day. Also living in Florida with the heat n humidity, I get to a point where my face gets hot, I bathe in my perspiration.
    So I immediately stop, because I also have severe environmental allergies. With my sleep apnea I fight to keep myself awaake. My neurologist gave me Gabapentin and sent me away saying “we don’t know enough about Fibromialga “.
    I fired my primary 2 yrs ago and haven’t found any I can trust.
    Besides being tired 24/7 I limit driving and the better Drs are 45 minutes away. I’m just discouraged because people in general have no empathy, they make it seem as if I’m a hypochondriac which is way off.. Be blessed!

  • I don’t exercise in a sense…I do my own house work it takes all day cause I start hurting and have to stop and rest often, and I am sore and lame the next day. I walk almost every day weather permitting. I get sharp stabbing pains all over my body daily. I sleep 4-5 hours a night because I get stiff and achy and have to get up. Tylenol extra strength nor Alene pm really work well most pain relievers do not work on me…I was given Percocet after my knee surgery (01-2015) and it was the first time I was actually almost pain free I slept like a baby but cannot get it anymore because it’s an opioid and jackasses abuse drugs so those who really need it cannot get it, I took it only at night so I could sleep I lived with the pain during the day and it wasn’t as bad because I was sleeping 8-10 hours a night so my body was restoring itself…

  • I am 66 and have had fibromyalgia for at least 20 years. The suffering has been unbearable at times. What has helped me the most is (1) getting off hormones, (2) taking gabapentin, and (3) dry needling. Dry needling is a bit like acupuncture but the therapist aims the needle right into the nucleus of the knotted muscles. It’s as the though the muscle then lets go and resets. You have to drink a lot of water after the treatment because those knots release some kind of chemical that is kind of like a toxin. Everybody is different, but we can’t give up on finding whatever works. Best of luck to all of you.

    • Hi Jane. I’m 65 and used to swear by acupuncture, but I’ve never had dry needling. I shall look into that, thanks. I think I’ve had it since at least 1991 when I was diagnosed with post viral fatigue now called ME. Unfortunately a year after my diagnosis of fibro in 2010, I had colon cancer removed. Since then I have had something every year with my health. In fact – I’m just recovering from breast cancer… I was put on Letrozole, a hormone inhibitor and my fibro pain was the worst ever. I’ve stopped taking it but of course the Radiotherapy and residue of the drug , are still on the way out of my system….
      May we ALL find answers and be well.

  • I can relate to all of you about the exercise. I work 8 to 12 hrs a day on my feet painting school classrooms, hallways, outside playground etc. I walk long halls over n over. Now Walmart pharmacy says I have to stop taking my Percocet. Dr trying me on Gabapentin ” Nuerontin. 300 mg 3x a day to start n now 600 2x a day and 900 in evening. I was taking 900 mg 3x a day but when I called Dr yesterday and complained he lowered it to the above dosage. It’s affecting my speech n thought process. But he keeps pushing it for fibro pain because he can’t keep prescribing an opiod. It helps a bit and that’s good but in August I will go to a different job where I have to speak well in front of people. I am worried I will lose my job. I don’t have insurance. I applied for Medicaid but was told I don’t meet requirements and that if I had children at home I could get it. Here’s the catch…. have you ever thought of being a foster parent? WTH?? I guess that’s how they get foster parents these days. I don’t need that extra stress. I’ve raised mine and grandkids wear me out in one day and night. Wondering if anyone else has had bad reaction to gaba. I’m sending you all gentle hugs. I do truly know how you feel with the pain and exercise at least. You’re not alone.
    By

  • I could barely vacuum the carpet or finish doing the dishes without having to go lie down because of fatigue, if I rode my motorcycle for more than 20 minutes I could hardly walk all my joints would stiffen up, until I got on this wonderful product Imulin, it stopped my migraines and took most of the inflamation from my body and the pain has subsided dramatically.

  • I have had fibro for many, many years and the only med that helps me with all that muscle weakness is Tramadol. I also take Synthroid and sometimes I wonder if the Synthroid is what makes me feel so awful. Anyone else feel that Synthroid could have something to do with it. Doctor doesn’t seem to want me to try a different thyroid med because studies don’t show anything. She’s all about studies. Well those don’t apply to real life.

    • I definitely feel worse on any thyroid medication. Even the name brand synthroid gave me a weird hangover feeling, so I just don’t take any. But I also couldn’t take Tramadol as I had the symptoms of a severe flu. Just try to improve your diet and take activated charcoal. It gets all the toxins out of your system. If you have digestive problems too, take digestive enzymes when you eat.
      There is a blood test called the FM/a test by EpicGenetics. It’s paid for by most insurance.

    • Hi jill, if you have hyoothyoidism, you need to take something for that. Perhaps it is the tramadol that u dont like as it us a very strong pain killer. You may need to find a different cocktail of meds that will work for you. Also there may be different ones for the low thyroid. Have it tested annually TSH, T4, T3 as well. Also we all need to have B 12 levels checked annually too as a large percentage of us with FM have this problem. The injections are needed on a monthly basis. Also a lot is us will have RLS diagnosed (dx) thru sleep study, as well as get IBS, irritable bowel syndrome. Can be tested, dx via colonoscopy for confirmation.
      We are very sensitive to light, sound, perfumes, etc. Ive had FM since 1988, on disability 1992, raised 3 kids with one of them being very sick, having to being rushed to children’s hospital in city too many times.

  • I am thinking I have had fibromyalgia for 9 years but now it is really bad. I can’t hardly get out of bed in the morning because of the pain and stiffness. I worked 26 years in health care and loved working with the elderly. I had to stop working because of the pain and the brain fog, I feel like I have lost my life. All I want to do is stay home in my gown in bed because my gown is more comfortable than any of my clothes and I sleep a lot because I am so tired all the time. I try my best to keep my house clean, cook meals for my family but it is so hard some days I just can’t do anything but stay in bed. I have done everything the doctors told me to do. I walk but after my walk I am so tired I can’t do anything else until I rest. I have no life, I cry all the time because the pain is so bad and because of the depression. I take the gabapentin and I still hurt. I will pray for all that has fibromyalgia.

  • After 16 years of fibro I decided to take a break. I set myself up on the sofa and this is where I live. After 1 1/2 years I feel better than ever. I order my groceries online. I only leave the house for doctor appointmens. But if I try to have a normal day, I immediately relapse. It’s not much of a life, but it’s the most pain free life I can have. Regarding brain fog… For me I accidentally found that a nutritional supplement called L-methofolate has mostly eliminated my brain fog.

  • I did 50 mins on the toning tables and i couldnt do a thing or the next 2 days!
    It wouldnt be so bad , but I have a lively 5 year old to take care of..I cant do nothing for 2 days!!

    Thinking of trying yoga or gentle aqua-aerobics.

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