The 8 Types of Fibromyalgia Pain & How to Manage Them

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition known for causing pain, fatigue, and a variety of other symptoms that can affect a person's daily life. It's a condition that can affect various areas of your body.

In this article, we will explore the eight types of fibromyalgia pain and equip you with the knowledge to manage them.

Fibromyalgia pain is multifaceted and can present itself in eight distinct forms:

  1. Widespread pain
  2. TMJ disorders
  3. Headaches
  4. Digestive pain
  5. Pelvic pain
  6. Nerve pain
  7. Allodynia – pain from normally non-painful stimuli
  8. Hyperalgesia – heightened pain sensitivity.

What causes fibromyalgia pain?

So what causes these fibromyalgia pain? Investigating the complexities of the central nervous system, along with a variety of risk factors can provide insights into the diverse types of pain experienced.

The central nervous system & pain

Fibromyalgia results in a malfunctioning central nervous system. Those with the condition experience a skewed perception of pain signals within the brain and spinal cord, leading to an intensification of ordinarily non-painful sensations. This leads to a scenario where even the slightest touch can be perceived as excruciating, due to the brain's increased sensitivity and reduced ability to process sensory data effectively.

If you have fibromyalgia then you will likely have a higher level of certain neurochemicals, called substance P, that amplifies the communication of pain signals to the brain1, along with a lower level of neurochemicals that would typically lessen pain sensations. Consequently, you endure pain more acutely and for more extended periods compared to individuals without the condition.

Risk factors & common triggers

While the central nervous system plays a pivotal role in the manifestation of fibromyalgia pain, it's not the only factor at play. A variety of risk factors may predispose you to this condition, including:

  • a higher prevalence in females compared to males – between 80 and 96%2
  • genetic factors
  • personal medical history, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, recent infections, previous pain conditions, mood disorders, and substance misuse.

Significant life events such as physical injuries, surgery, or intense psychological stress can also act as catalysts for a fibromyalgia outbreak. Alternatively, symptoms may develop gradually without a single identifiable cause.

Since these initiating factors can differ greatly from person to person, recognizing and managing your unique triggers is crucial in mitigating the effects of fibromyalgia.

To identify these triggers and common symptoms, consider the following:

  • maintain a daily diary detailing your activities, events, symptoms, and mood changes
  • observe any recurring patterns or connections between certain actions or occurrences and the emergence of symptoms
  • share your findings with your doctor to formulate effective personalized treatment strategies.

Widespread muscle pain

Widespread muscle pain is a hallmark and particularly challenging aspect of fibromyalgia, often manifesting as a persistent, dull ache across multiple body areas over extended durations. Such continuous discomfort can significantly impede everyday functions, rendering even simple tasks arduous.

Managing the widespread muscle pain associated with fibromyalgia is essential, and physical therapy along with regular exercise routines play a pivotal role in this management.

Incorporating activities such as yoga, walking, or swimming can aid in easing muscle stiffness and preserving joint mobility. A study has shown that participating in warm water pool exercises for a fortnight resulted in a 15% reduction in pain for women with fibromyalgia3.

TMJ pain

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain is common in individuals with fibromyalgia. It often presents itself as a persistent, dull ache that can affect the face and jaw, and may radiate to the neck4.

Factors contributing to the development of TMJ disorders include genetics, arthritis, habitual bruxism – teeth grinding or clenching – and previous jaw injuries5.

Dentists are typically the healthcare professionals who diagnose and treat TMJ disorders. Treatments for these conditions might involve anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants, highlighting the importance of a collaborative healthcare strategy when managing fibromyalgia-related symptoms.


Tension headaches and migraines, are quite common when you have fibromyalgia7.

Research shows that more than 30% of individuals with fibromyalgia report tension headaches, and nearly 25% may suffer from migraines.

It's important to note that these headaches can occur alongside other conditions you might be facing, such as TMJ pain, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, or depression. These are all aspects that we need to consider together when we look at your overall health picture.

Digestive pain

Digestive pain is a prevalent issue for those suffering from fibromyalgia. Conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) often coexist with fibromyalgia, contributing to the overall burden of gastrointestinal distress.

Studies suggest that as many as 70% of individuals with fibromyalgia may also struggle with IBS8.

Pelvic pain

Pelvic pain, which can sometimes be related to abdominal pain, is another type of pain that is commonly experienced, particularly by women with fibromyalgia. This pain can include bladder pain, which can cause an increased urge to urinate and frequent urination9.

According to a study from 2019, women who suffer from endometriosis have a 6% higher chance of developing fibromyalgia compared to those without the condition10.

Nerve pain

Nerve pain is one of the types of discomfort you might encounter, and it can exhibit itself through various symptoms, such as:

  • a crawling sensation
  • tingling
  • numbness
  • a burning feeling
  • itching.

These symptoms often affect your arms and legs and might interfere with your day-to-day activities, diminishing your quality of life.

It's important to recognize that while these symptoms are common in fibromyalgia, nerve pain may sometimes be a sign of other underlying conditions. As such, it's essential to discuss your symptoms with your healthcare provider to determine the appropriate course of treatment.

When managing nerve pain, several strategies may prove effective. Medical treatments, including medications like pregabalin (Lyrica) and gabapentin (Neurontin), which are anticonvulsants, can help reduce nerve pain and improve sleep quality. However, these medications can have side effects, such as dizziness or weight gain, which you should discuss with your doctor.

In addition to medications, certain supplements, particularly those containing vitamins B1, B6, and B12, may provide relief from nerve pain6.


You may know all too well the peculiar sensitivity known as allodynia, where things that shouldn't hurt, do. A soft caress or a light breeze, innocuous to most, can become a source of pain due to your central nervous system dialing up the intensity of what should be non-painful stimuli.

Navigating daily life with allodynia is a delicate balancing act, as avoiding touch altogether is not a practical option. While there's no one-size-fits-all remedy, certain strategies may offer some relief. Opting for clothing that feels like a second skin, fine-tuning the shower's temperature to just right, and donning protective gloves for chores can make a world of difference in managing the discomfort of allodynia.


Hyperalgesia represents one of the most severe forms of pain you may encounter if you have fibromyalgia. This condition is characterized by a heightened sensitivity to pain, where the nervous system amplifies pain signals in response to stimuli that ordinarily might cause minimal discomfort.

For someone living with hyperalgesia, everyday sensations such as a gentle pat on the back or the pressure from a tight bracelet can become unbearably painful. It's as if the volume on your pain receptors has been turned up, and what was once a whisper of discomfort now sounds like a shout. Your doctor can help you understand this exaggerated pain response and work with you to develop strategies to manage and reduce its impact on your daily life.

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Treating & managing these 8 types of fibromyalgia pain

Many individuals with fibromyalgia adopt a multidisciplinary approach to chronic pain management, which encompasses a combination of, physical activity, rehabilitative therapies, and psychological support. This comprehensive approach not only aims to reduce pain but also significantly enhances the overall quality of life for people living with fibromyalgia.

Retraining your pain response

Here at MoreGoodDays®, we're all about helping you get a handle on your pain. We know it's not just about the aches—it's about how your mind and your life play into that pain, too.

We believe that pain is more than just a physical thing. It's tied up with your thoughts, feelings, and the world around you. So, we've developed a whole plan to help you understand why you might be hurting and what you can do about it.

We're going to dive into the science of pain and show you how stress, the way you think about pain, and even your daily routines can change the way you feel. By getting to grips with this, you can start to take control and reduce the pain's hold on your life.

Practical techniques, based on neuroplasticity principles, are key. Examples include:

  • Exercise and movement: Engaging in regular, gentle exercise can be a game-changer for easing your pain. It's about more than just building muscle; it's about lifting your spirits and keeping your body flexible. You don't need to push yourself to the extreme – simple activities like a leisurely walk or some stretches can significantly relieve pain and improve your day.
  • Psychological support and stress relief: Harnessing stress control and adopting relaxation practices can significantly shift the experience for those battling fibromyalgia pain. Imagine having a set of tools that enable you to steer through the stormy seas of physical or emotional distress with tranquility. This journey is not solely about diminishing stress – it's about initiating a cascade of positivity that can alleviate your pain and improve your life's quality.
  • Quality sleep: Pinpointing and mitigating factors that interrupt your sleep, from stress in your daily life or late-night eating habits, is crucial. Developing a bedtime routine can pave the path to restful sleep. Sleep quality not only mitigates the discomfort but also aids in the overall management of fibromyalgia symptoms. Introducing aerobic activities during your day to boost blood flow and employing calming techniques before bedtime can greatly enhance your ability to fall into deep, restorative sleep.

When it comes to dealing with fibromyalgia, we get that everyone's journey is unique. That's why our team is here to offer one-on-one support that's just right for you. We'll work together to find strategies that fit your life and help ease that troublesome pain.

Medication as an enabler

If you're experiencing pain from fibromyalgia, think of medications as your personal support team. They won't solve everything, but they're crucial players in your strategy to treat fibromyalgia and ease the pain.

Simple pain relievers like paracetamol and ibuprofen can take the edge off your pain temporarily. Your doctor might also suggest a mix of other medications that specifically target the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Antidepressants are also pretty handy – they work on your brain's chemistry to ease the pain by calming down the central nervous system. That's a big win because it means the pain signals that are causing you grief get toned down.

And when it comes to the tension in the jaw area, muscle relaxants can be a saving grace. They work to ease those constricted muscles, offering much-needed relief.


Modifying your diet is a viable approach to mitigating the discomfort of your fibromyalgia pain.

Studies have shown that embracing a diet rich in plant-based foods, like the Mediterranean diet, has shown promise in alleviating pain symptoms for those with fibromyalgia11.

Such a diet is characterized by:

  • a high intake of fruits and vegetables
  • a variety of legumes
  • an abundance of whole grains
  • a focus on consuming healthy fats.

Furthermore, the addition of magnesium supplements has demonstrated a notable decrease in both the stress and pain levels of fibromyalgia sufferers12.

More information & support

For more information and support, fill out our suitability survey or get in touch. We can help you to work towards reducing pain severity, flare-up frequency, and emotional distress.