Neck Pain Fibromyalgia

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neck pain fibromyalgia

At Kaly, we want to help shed light on the complex relationship between fibromyalgia and neck pain. Our aim is to empower fibromyalgia patients to better understand why neck discomfort is so common with this condition and explore effective treatment options.

Fibromyalgia Defined

Fibromyalgia, a complex condition often enigmatic in its origins, manifests through widespread pain and mental health challenges, including depression and anxiety. Its elusive cause leaves many struggling with searing pain across various body quadrants, notably in the neck area, where tender points often aggravate discomfort.

This chronic ailment is not just a physical burden; it encompasses a spectrum of symptoms like chronic fatigue, persistent sleep problems, and cognition issues, intertwining physical discomfort with psychological distress. The pain experienced by fibromyalgia patients is not merely localized but spreads across multiple areas, emphasizing the systemic nature of this condition.

Additionally, fibromyalgia impacts the body’s physiology, notably through reduced blood flow and oxygen to muscles. This can lead to nerve damage, an aspect exemplified by conditions like small-fiber polyneuropathy, often associated with fibromyalgia. Such nerve damage particularly affects sensitive areas like the neck, intensifying the pain.

What Causes Neck Pain With Fibromyalgia?

neck pain fibromyalgia

Doctors aren’t entirely sure why neck pain is so prevalent in fibromyalgia. Leading theories point to these factors:

  • Muscle knots – Fibromyalgia causes knots called trigger points to form in muscles. These tense, sore spots are common in the trapezius and sternocleidomastoid muscles of the neck and shoulders.
  • Nerve dysfunction – Fibro disrupts pain signaling in the central nervous system. This affects how the nerves rooted in the cervical spine process and transmit pain signals.
  • Poor sleep – Nonrestorative sleep and cervical spine positioning during sleep can provoke neck stiffness and pain. Fibro patients often wake unrefreshed.
  • Posture – Chronic muscle tension and fatigue can lead to slumped, forward head posture that strains the neck over time.
  • Comorbidities – Over half of fibro patients have disorders like chronic migraine, temporomandibular joint dysfunction or cervical spondylosis that independently cause neck pain.
  • Stress – High stress levels exacerbate fibro symptoms including neck discomfort. The neck contains many stress-sensitive nerves and tissues.
  • Weather sensitivity – Many patients find damp, cold weather increases body-wide achiness, including neck pain. Barometric pressure changes can worsen symptoms.
  • Overexertion – Fibro patients often pay a pain price for overdoing activities. This can translate into increased neck soreness and stiffness afterwards.

Characteristics of Fibromyalgia Neck Pain

Understanding the unique characteristics of fibromyalgia-related neck pain – from morning stiffness to a burning sensation and diffuse pain – is crucial for effective management. 

These symptoms, which can fluctuate in severity and are often exacerbated by motion, highlight the complex and unpredictable nature of fibromyalgia. The neck pain might also radiate, adding to the complexity of symptom management.

  • Morning stiffness – Waking up with a stiff, achy neck is very common. Pain and rigidity is often worst first thing in the morning.
  • Burning – A burning, stinging sensation in the neck muscles is frequently reported. This reflects dysfunction in small nerve fibers.
  • Diffuse location – Rather than concentrated in one spot, pain tends to be widespread throughout the neck area.
  • Fluctuating severity – Neck pain waxes and wanes unpredictably in fibro patients. Aggravating factors make it temporarily worse.
  • Pain with motion – Moving the neck often increases discomfort. But restricted mobility can also provoke pain. It’s a catch-22.
  • Radiating painNeck pain can shoot down the shoulders, upper back and arms. This occurs when cervical nerve roots become irritated.
  • Headaches – Fibro frequently causes tension and migraine headaches due to referred neck pain and muscular trigger points.

Fibromyalgia Neck Pain Treatment Options

TENS therapy for neck pain fibromyalgia

While no cure exists for fibromyalgia, a multifaceted treatment approach can help tame neck pain and stiffness. Ask your doctor about trying:


Lifestyle Changes

  • Low-impact aerobic exercise like walking, cycling or water workouts to reduce stiffness.
  • Regular stretching and neck traction to improve mobility.
  • Stress reduction practices such as yoga, tai chi, meditation and massage.
  • Proper ergonomics and braces to improve neck positioning.
  • Fibro-friendly diet adjustments to reduce inflammation.
  • Osteopathic manipulative therapy to improve neck mobility.
  • Acupuncture to deactivate trigger points and release endorphins.

Advanced Therapies

Localized steroid injections into severe trigger points. -Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) for pain modulation. -Radiofrequency ablation to numb irritated cervical facet joints. -Cognitive behavioral therapy to develop coping skills. -Chiropractic spinal manipulation for joint dysfunction.

Finding the right balance of treatments tailored to your specific neck pain pattern is key. Experiment to determine what provides you the most sustained relief with minimal side effects.

Managing fibromyalgia, particularly its neck pain aspect, requires a comprehensive approach. This might include medications for pain relief, topical treatments to relax neck muscles, and muscle relaxants.

Lifestyle modifications, such as engaging in low-impact exercises, practicing regular stretching, reducing stress, and making dietary changes, are integral to symptom management. Additionally, therapies like osteopathic manipulation, acupuncture, and adopting proper ergonomic practices can significantly improve neck mobility and alleviate pain.

FAQs About Neck Pain and Fibromyalgia

Why does my neck hurt with fibromyalgia?

Fibro neck pain often results from factors like muscle knots, poor sleep, nerve dysfunction, cervical spine arthritis and posture problems placing chronic strain on the neck.

Where is neck pain located in fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia patients usually experience diffuse neck achiness rather than pain concentrated in one spot. Discomfort can radiate to the base of the skull, shoulders and upper back.

What does fibro neck pain feel like?

Fibromyalgia neck pain is often described as a deep, gnawing ache accompanied by stiffness, tightness, burning or stabbing sensations and tenderness to touch.

How can I get relief from fibromyalgia neck pain?

Gentle range of motion exercises, massage, warm compresses, topical pain creams, oral medications, neck pillows and stress reduction can help ease fibromyalgia neck discomfort.

Why does my neck hurt when I have fibromyalgia?

The many muscles, joints and nerves in the neck contain pain receptors that become overly sensitized in fibromyalgia patients, provoking chronic achiness. Poor sleep and posture also contribute.

Can neck issues cause fibromyalgia?

There is no evidence that neck problems directly cause widespread fibromyalgia pain. But existing cervical spine conditions can make patients more prone to neck discomfort.

Does fibromyalgia cause neck cracking and popping?

Yes, the muscle tightness and cervical spine inflammation associated with fibro often leads to audible cracking and popping sounds as you turn your neck.

Can fibromyalgia cause neck spasms?

Fibro frequently causes knots called trigger points to form in the neck muscles. These tense, sore spots can produce painful muscle spasm and stiffness.

Why does my neck pop so much with fibromyalgia?

The inflammation and loss of cervical spine flexibility from fibro creates joint stiffness that makes loud popping or grinding sounds as you move your neck.

Will fibromyalgia cause neck arthritis?

Fibromyalgia doesn’t directly cause degenerative changes to the cervical spine. But existing age-related neck arthritis can worsen and become more symptomatic due to the heightened pain sensitivity.

Let Kaly Help Connect You With Fibromyalgia Specialists

a woman undergoes neck pain consultation

At Kaly, we understand how incapacitating and frustrating fibromyalgia neck pain can be. Our goal is to assist neck pain sufferers in finding top rheumatologists, pain management physicians, physical therapists and other specialists to optimize their fibro treatment plans.

Through our transparent healthcare platform, you can research experienced providers, easily book appointments online and seamlessly communicate with doctors to streamline care coordination. 

Don’t struggle alone – help and hope is available. Contact us today to take the first step in getting connected with providers dedicated to effectively diagnosing and treating your fibromyalgia neck pain.