Does being overweight have an effect on fibromyalgia?

Ami Ben-Artzi, MD
Rheumatology
Being overweight may have an effect on fibromyalgia. Excess fat tissue can lead to greater inflammation and also more pain. Experts believe obesity may trigger fibromyalgia symptoms by causing:
  • inflammation
  • sleep apnea that disturbs sleep
  • painful conditions such as osteoarthritis
In one study, doctors treated 43 people with obesity and fibromyalgia in two different ways - some had weight loss as part of their treatment, and others did not. Those who reduced their weight had symptoms improve.
Being overweight can have some effect on fibromyalgia because the extra weight can also affect your sleep, your ability to exercise, and your eating habits.

Research has shown that regular exercise is a very positive step and one of the most effective treatments for fibromyalgia. Just a routine walking program can help reduce your muscle pain and morning stiffness. If you are overweight, you may be unable to participate in an exercise program as regularly as you may need.

Eating healthy and practicing good portion control can also help those with fibromyalgia to have more energy and generally improve your overall health. Being overweight may affect both your food choices and energy levels.
 
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Being overweight can have an effect on fibromyalgia. People with fibromyalgia are more likely to be overweight or obese than people who don't have fibromyalgia. It's not clear yet whether carrying around extra pounds can increase the chance of developing fibromyalgia, or whether having fibromyalgia makes it more likely you'll gain weight. One thing is for sure: If your joints hurt, it's harder to exercise, and regular aerobic exercise is not only critical for weight control but also helps reduce pain. Evidence suggests that for overweight people with fibromyalgia, losing weight can reduce the intensity of pain symptoms.

Continue Learning about Living With Fibromyalgia

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.