8 Types of Fibromyalgia Pain Identify by New Researches

8 Types of Fibromyalgia Pain Identify by New Researches

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain and tenderness throughout the body. It is often accompanied by fatigue , sleep problems , cognitive difficulties and emotional distress. While the exact cause of fibromyalgia remains unknown , researchers believe it is linked to abnormal pain processing in the brain and spinal cord. One of the most challenging aspects of fibromyalgia is the diversity of pain it can cause. People with fibromyalgia experience a variety of pain types , not just generalized muscle aches. Understanding these different 8 types of fibromyalgia pain can help you better manage your symptoms and improve quality of life.

8 Types of Fibromyalgia Pain


Individuals with fibromyalgia often experience periods of intensified symptoms known as fibromyalgia flare up, during which the pain and tenderness can become more severe and debilitating. Understanding the different types of pain associated with fibromyalgia can help in managing these flare-ups and improving the quality of life for those affected by this challenging condition.

Here is a break down of the eight most common 8 types of fibromyalgia pain. 

1- Hyperalgesia Pain:


This refers to an increased sensitivity to pain. Even mild stimuli , such as a light touch or change in temperature can be perceived as intense pain. Hyperalgesia occurs because the central nervous system amplifies pain signals. Hyperalgesia presents as difficulty in going about daily activities such as brushing or showering as they become painful. The underlying mechanism is attributed to changes in neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine which are involved in pain perception contribute to hyperalgesia. 

2- Widespread muscle pain and fatigue: 

This is the hallmark symptom of fibromyalgia. The pain is typically described as dull aching or burning sensation that affects both sides of body, above and below the waist. It is often accompanied by intense fatigue that does not improve with rest. The pain may shift in location from day to day or even within the same day. Fatigue makes it difficult to perform daily activities and worsens the perception of pain. The exact cause of this widespread pain is not known, but it is likely a combination of factors. Abnormal pain processing, muscle tension and inflammation may all play a role.

3- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain:


As the name suggests, it affects the TMJ. The pain affects the jaw, face and ears along with headaches and difficulty in chewing. The clinical features include a clicking or popping sounds with jaw movement with limited jaw movement. The underlying mechanisms are not fully understood but the hypothesized similar to those of wide spread pain.

4- Allodynia:


This is a condition where non painful stimuli, such as light touch or gentle pressure are perceived as pain. It is similar to hyperalgesia, but with allodynia even the lightest touch can be excruciating. People with allodynia may find wearing clothes or lying-in bed becomes difficult. Even gentle breeze or shower water can be perceived as painful. The underlying mechanisms are similar to those of hyperalgesia.

5- Neuropathic pain:


 This type of pain is caused by damage or dysfunction of the nerves themselves. It can manifest as burning, stinging or shooting pain. Neuropathic pain may be constant or episodic. The pain can be described as a burning, tingling or electrical shock sensation. Nerve damage or dysfunction in the peripheral or central nervous system may contributed to neuropathic pain in fibromyalgia.  

6- Headaches: 

People with fibromyalgia frequently experience headaches, including migraines and tension headaches. These headaches can be debilitating and worsen other fibromyalgia symptoms. The clinical presentation includes a headache which is dull, throbbing or a combination of both. Nausea, vomiting and light sensitivity can accompany them. The mechanisms of these symptoms is attributed to abnormal pain processing systems

7- Digestive pain: 


Many people with fibromyalgia experience digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, constipation or diarrhoea. Digestive symptoms include cramping, bloating and changes in bowel habits. The pathophysiology is attributed to central nervous system dysfunction, stress, immune system activation in response to low grade inflammation and microbiome imbalance.

8- Pelvic pain:


This type of pain affects the lower abdomen and pelvic region. Can be constant or intermittent in nature and tends to worsen with menstruation. Pelvic pain manifests as a dull ache , burning sensation or sharp stabbing pain often associated with urinary urgency or frequency. The underlying mechanisms are attributed to abnormal pain processing , muscle tension in pelvic region , hormonal fluctuations in oestrogen and progesterone especially around menstruation worsens the pain.

Living with fibromyalgia pain

There is no cure for fibromyalgia but various strategies like medications , exercise , stress management , sleep hygiene and self-care can help in management of pain and improve overall wellbeing.

Remember you are not alone, there are many resources available to help you manage fibromyalgia pain. Talk to your doctor about developing a personalized treatment plan and connect with support groups who understand your experience.


Fibromyalgia pain can manifest in various forms, each affecting individuals differently. Understanding the eight types of fibromyalgia pain is crucial for effective management and treatment. These types include widespread muscle pain, which is the most common and involves aching muscles throughout the body. Joint pain, despite the lack of inflammation, causes significant stiffness and discomfort. Many individuals experience severe headaches or migraines, adding to their distress. Abdominal pain, often associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS),includes cramps and bloating. Nerve pain, described as tingling, numbness, or a burning sensation, affects the nerves. Sensitivity to touch is another type, where even light touches can cause significant pain due to heightened sensitivity. Fatigue-related pain is exacerbated by extreme tiredness, making daily activities challenging. Lastly, cognitive pain, often referred to as "fibro fog," impacts mental clarity and function. Recognizing these diverse pain types is essential for developing a comprehensive treatment plan to improve the quality of life for those with fibromyalgia.


Why does my body ache and I feel tired with no fever?

Body aches and fatigue without a fever can result from various factors, including stress, overexertion, dehydration, lack of sleep, or underlying chronic conditions like fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. It's important to consult a healthcare provider to determine the exact cause.

Is fibromyalgia an autoimmune disease? 

No, fibromyalgia is not an autoimmune disease. It is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain and tenderness. Although it is not caused by an immune system response, it can coexist with autoimmune diseases, which may complicate diagnosis and treatment. 

What are the worst symptoms of fibromyalgia?


The most severe symptoms of fibromyalgia include chronic widespread pain, extreme fatigue, sleep disturbances, cognitive difficulties (often called "fibro fog"),and heightened sensitivity to touch. These symptoms can be debilitating and significantly impact daily life.

How is fibromyalgia diagnosed? 


Fibromyalgia is diagnosed through a comprehensive evaluation by a healthcare provider. Diagnosis is based on a combination of symptoms and physical examination, including widespread pain lasting for at least three months and the presence of tender points. Doctors may also perform blood tests and imaging studies to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms. 

What are fibromyalgia tender points?

Tender points are specific areas on the body that are painful when pressed. They are located in various parts of the body, such as the neck, shoulders, chest, hips, knees, and elbows. Although the use of tender points in diagnosing fibromyalgia has decreased, they remain useful in assessing the extent of pain and sensitivity in patients.


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Author: Dr. Srishti Banerjee, a neurology-focused physiotherapist with a Master's from Gujarat University, contributes to academia through research and education. As Assistant Professor at LJ Institute of Physiotherapy, LJ University, she conducts webinars on mental health and sustainability, showcasing her dedication to patient care and eco-friendly practices.


Rina Pandya

Article by Rina Pandya

Published 27 May 2024