Why Bruising Happens in Fibromyalgia: Insights & Interventions

Are you puzzled by unexplained bruises and suspecting fibromyalgia is the cause? Let's decode the phenomenon of "bruising fibromyalgia" and equip you with simple, effective tips to manage these bruises, steering clear of the condition's complexity.

The mystery of bruising in fibromyalgia

Imagine you're wrestling with the symptoms of fibromyalgia when suddenly, you notice an unexplained bruise. It's as if a small puzzle has unfolded on your skin without any forewarning – perhaps during your sleep or in the midst of your daily activities.

Perhaps the bruise materialized from the slightest of impacts, the sort that would normally go unnoticed. Or maybe you can't pinpoint any specific incident that could have caused it, but there it is anyway.

These stubborn marks have a tendency to linger much longer than your typical bruise – persisting for days, weeks, or sometimes months. The presentation can be diverse. Some are sizable and conspicuous discolorations, while others are so subtle that they could easily be overlooked.

In addition to bruises, fibromyalgia can come with a host of strange sensations on the skin, including:

  • prickling heat
  • pins-and-needles
  • persistent dryness
  • itchy, flushed outbreaks
  • sudden patches of numbness
  • a crawling feeling, as if insects are parading across your skin
  • skin that appears a tad off-kilter, perhaps slightly mottled or uneven in tone and texture.

Where are the unexplained bruises coming from?

So, you’ve noticed a random bruise but can't recall hitting anything. Can fibromyalgia be the reason for these unexplained bruises?

Let’s take a step back; fibromyalgia is caused by central sensitization. This is a disorder of the central nervous system that can impact all parts of the body. In central sensitization, the brain interprets normal sensations differently. This can make you feel pain – or fatigue, or fibro fog, or sleep troubles, or any number of other symptoms – even if there's no actual injury or damage.

Fibromyalgia doesn't actually cause bruises. But fibro fog and sleep deprivation can make you more likely to overlook or forget minor bumps that lead to bruising. And central sensitization ramps up the volume on pain, making minor bruises hurt more than you might expect.

Fibro fog

Brain fog, also known as fibro fog, is something many people with fibromyalgia deal with. You might feel forgetful, less alert, or even clumsy. 

When your thoughts are cloudy, you might not be as careful as normal and thus bump into things more often. And if it’s hard to pay attention, you might not notice when you bump into something. So, you end up with a bruise and no memory of how it got there.

Sleep deprivation

For anyone with fibromyalgia, getting good sleep is like trying to find a treasure chest without a map. It's tough, right?

When you don't sleep well, your body doesn't get the proper chance for restoration. This means you might end up more bruised and for longer than you'd expect. Sleep deprivation can also contribute to brain fog and fatigue. This can leave you feeling like you've run a marathon without even getting off the couch, which can make you more likely to bump into things or trip over. 

Snoozing better is like giving your body a superpower to fight off those bruises and kick some of those other fibromyalgia symptoms to the curb. Better sleep equals a happier, more energetic you, and who wouldn't want that?

Check out our guide on how to get better sleep.

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Managing fibromyalgia-related bruising

To get a handle on fibromyalgia-related bruising, use a two-pronged plan: preventing bruises in the first place, and dealing with them effectively if they do show up.


  • Suit up for safety: When you're doing something physical, wear protective gear or padding on those spots that tend to take a hit to give yourself a little extra cushion for the unexpected.
  • Knee comfort: Similarly, if your task involves kneeling, use a soft pad under your knees for support. And use padding under other areas that will support a lot of pressure.
  • Home-proofing: Go on a little mission around your place and pad up those sharp edges or corners that seem to have a magnetic attraction to your shins. Better lighting can also be a game-changer, so you don't end up playing tag with your furniture in the dark. Decluttering can also work wonders – it's good for your space and your mind, and it helps you avoid those "I swear that wasn't there yesterday" moments.
  • Check your vision: If you regularly walk into things or trip because you didn't see something, it's probably time to get an eye test. In addition to finding out with you need glasses or an update to your lenses, optometrists also check for eye disease and other health disorders that you want to catch early on.
  • Eat like a superhero: Load up on foods packed with vitamins C and K to toughen up your blood vessels and keep your skin in superhero shape. We're talking oranges, spinach, and strawberries – your new bruise-busting pals.
  • Drink up: Keep that skin supple and less prone to bruising by staying hydrated. Imagine your skin is a grape – you don't want it turning into a raisin!


  • Chill it: If you get a bruise, grab something cold like ice or a frozen bag of peas, wrap it in a tea towel, and put it on the spot. This can help keep the swelling down and might stop the bruise from getting bigger.
  • Lift it up: Whenever you can, try to raise the bruised part of your body higher than your heart. This trick helps with swelling and stops blood from collecting in the bruised area, which can speed up healing.
  • Creams and gels: There are some creams and gels out there, like ones with Arnica or vitamin K, that could make your bruise look better and hurt less. Just make sure to talk to a doctor or a nurse before you try anything new, to make sure it's safe for you.

Talk to your doctor

  • Checking out those mystery bruises: If you keep finding bruises and have no clue where they came from, it's a good idea to have a chat with your doctor. They can help figure out if there's something else going on that needs to be looked at.
  • Medication check-up: Sometimes the things we take to feel better or stay healthy can make us bruise easier. It's wise to let your doctor take a look at your meds to see if any changes are necessary.
  • Comprehensive approach: Getting a handle on fibromyalgia usually means putting together a plan that covers everything from medication to therapy to changing up your daily routine. This can make you feel better overall and might even cut down on how often you get bruises and how bad they are.

It’s also important to check with your doctor if you have:

  • bruises that last for longer than two weeks, or that keep coming back
  • a lump or other painful swelling in the bruise area
  • vision trouble with a black eye
  • a bruise and swelling on your head, especially if you can’t remember what happened or have a headache, nausea, dizziness, or confusion
  • unusual or heavy bleeding such as nosebleeds, blood in your urine or feces, coughing blood, unusual vaginal bleeding
  • night sweats
  • unexplained loss of weight or appetite
  • any other symptoms that cause you concern.

Retraining your pain response

Addressing the challenge of bruising in fibromyalgia involves more than just physical remedies. Since fibromyalgia can alter the usual pathways of pain perception, retraining the way your brain interprets stimuli can reduce pain, fatigue and other symptoms of fibromyalgia. And reduce your bruises in the process!

Because pain intertwines physical health with emotional health, mental clarity, and social interactions, our program discusses all of the elements that influence your pain experience. Our curated set of techniques utilize the brain's inherent ability to reorganize itself – this is the power of neuroplasticity in action.

Examples include:

  • Exercise and movement: Exercise is proven to lower average pain levels and improve mood, while also positively impacting muscle and joint function. Incorporating even small movements and breaking up periods of sitting can make a meaningful difference.
  • Psychology and stress management: These approaches help you develop coping skills and regulate your nervous system responses, leading to improved pain management and overall wellbeing.
  • Sleep: Understanding fatigue triggers and pacing activities can help manage energy, while adopting proper sleep hygiene practices promotes restful sleep, contributing to pain relief.
  • Understanding the nature of pain, emotional stressors, and the role of your social environment.

We recognize the importance of personalized support in navigating the complexities of fibromyalgia management. Our coaches and clinicians offer tailored guidance to help individuals implement strategies tailored to their specific circumstances.

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.