Does stress make fibromyalgia symptoms worse?

Jennifer N. Caudle, DO
Family Medicine

Fibromyalgia has many triggers that are different for each patient, but stress is one that affects many people. Watch family medicine physician Jennifer Caudle, DO, explain how stress can impact your condition and why stress management is important.


Natalie E. Azar, MD
Internal Medicine

Stress is known to make fibromyalgia symptoms worse; it can exacerbate or trigger a flare-up in fibromyalgia, as well as other connective tissue diseases. Watch rheumatologist Natalie Azar, MD, explain the impact stress can have on fibromyalgia.


Emotional stress can worsen fibromyalgia symptoms. People with fibromyalgia often say that their pain and other symptoms flare up or feel worse when they're having a stressful day or coping with emotionally upsetting circumstances. Finding a way to manage your stress level, such as practicing meditation or yoga, can help you control fibromyalgia symptoms.

It can for some. There are numerous triggers or causes that can worsen a patient’s fibromyalgia, and stress or anxiety can certainly cause symptoms to worsen. Controlling stress and anxiety with treatment through a multidisciplinary team can help fibromyalgia symptoms.

Dede Bonner
Health Education

No one knows the exact correlation yet and fibromyalgia is still viewed by many as a “mysterious” disease, but some experts suggest that chronic stress may aggravate the body’s immune system and somehow be related to chronic pain.

For some people with fibromyalgia, stress levels are further heightened because they get so little support or sympathy about their pain from the other people in their lives. This pain-stress cycle then becomes a vicious circle.
The 10 Best Questions for Living with Fibromyalgia: The Script You Need to Take Control of Your Health

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The 10 Best Questions for Living with Fibromyalgia: The Script You Need to Take Control of Your Health

A good mind knows the right answers...but a great mind knows the right questions. And never are the Best Questions more important than after the life-altering diagnosis of fibromyalgia -- or when you...

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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.