Living With Fibromyalgia

Why does fibromyalgia cause fatigue?

A Answers (3)

  • Most people with fibromyalgia feel tired or fatigued. Feeling that you are out of energy is in part due to increased levels of pain. Other symptoms of fibromyalgia include sleeplessness, which can add to the fatigue.

    If you are experiencing fibromyalgia symptoms that are affecting your quality of life or fatigue levels that affect your productivity, talk to your doctor. Treatment options are available to help with your fibromyalgia symptoms, including fatigue.
  • ACeleste Cooper, Rheumatology, answered

    We are not certain as to why fatigue is such a huge part of fibromyalgia, and several reasons have been bounced around, cussed and discussed, theorized, and some proven. Dysfunctional sleep is alive and well in FM. In some patients it can be a primary sleep problems such as sleep apnea or airway obstructions, but in a great deal of FM patients, who have undergone sleep studies, it appears we lack the normal staging of the sleep process. 

    Insomnia is also another aggravating factor, and some believe that constant bombardment of pain signals, even during sleep may have an effect. A comorbid condition called restless leg syndrome (a creepy crawling sensation that causes us to constantly move our legs in an effort to get the sensation to cease and desist) is coupled to another condition called periodic limb movement, which is the thrashing about of arms and legs during sleep. This is thought to be centrally mediated in the brain, and studies bear out that FM is a condition of central nervous system disruption aggravated and amplified by peripheral pain impulses.

    All blogs, posts and answers are based on the work in Integrative Therapies for Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Myofascial Pain: The Mind-Body Connection by Celeste Cooper, RN, and Jeff Miller, PhD. 2010, Vermont: Healing Arts press and are not meant to replace medical advice.

    Author of Chapter Five, Living with and Coping Effectively Through Fibromyalgia: Detecting Barriers, Understanding the Clues, in Fibromyalgia Insider Secrets: 10 Top Experts, 2nd Ed. Ebook complied by Deirdre Rawlings, ND, PhD

  • AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Fibromyalgia causes fatigue by degrading the quality of your sleep. Sleep studies show that people with fibromyalgia have abnormal sleep patterns. Their brain waves resemble both waking and sleeping states. The fancy term for it is "alpha NREM sleep." This mixed kind of sleep doesn't really restore you. You wake up fatigued. That's why tackling sleep problems is key to helping to reduce fibromyalgia symptoms. Exercise can help improve the quality of your sleep. If you take prescription medications for your fibromyalgia pain, work with your doctor to make sure that your medications also help you sleep better. Some medicines do both.
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