Why does fibromyalgia cause neck pain?

Coping with neck pain fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a pain in the neck, literally. While it is known to cause pain throughout the body, neck pain from fibromyalgia seems to be a common complaint for many people.

Is there any reason why our necks are more susceptible to pain? If that is the case, what can we do to get relief?

Why does fibromyalgia cause neck pain?

The first question we must answer is: why are we more inclined to have neck pain? There are some possible reasons for this.

Although the exact reason is unknown, a possible culprit could be the activation points that are in the neck. A set of sensitive spots can be found on the neck, the base of the head and shoulders, as well as on the upper part of the back. It is easy to see why pain can start in the neck or be transmitted by pain that originates elsewhere.

It is also believed that those of us with fibromyalgia have reduced the flow of blood and / or oxygen to our muscles. This could be the cause of much of our pain, including fibro neck pain.

It could also be the result of nerve damage, which is another common factor found in people with fibromyalgia.

Bad sleep habits can also contribute to neck pain. Sleeping in the wrong position can cause tension in the neck muscles.

One study suggests that another cause of neck pain with fibromyalgia could be the misalignment of the atlas. The atlas is the upper bone of the neck and any misalignment, even the smallest amount, can cause several uncomfortable symptoms, the main symptom being neck pain.

Treatment for fibromyalgia neck pain

The next question we must answer is: what can be done to treat neck pain so common in fibromyalgia? These seven treatment options for neck pain with fibromyalgia may provide some relief.


Exercising with fibromyalgia is a big challenge, but it has been found that movement is one of the best things to help decrease fibro pain. Gentle stretching exercises help prevent muscles from becoming stiff and weak. Inactivity can increase the pain of the trigger points in the neck.

Exercise like Pilates or swimming can be beneficial for many with fibromyalgia. Even just simple stretches and a moderate amount of activity and movement throughout the day can be very helpful.

Fibromyalgia News Today  shared some exercises that can help specifically to relieve neck pain:

  • Stand against a wall with arms outstretched. Move your arms up and down, as if you were making a snow angel. Move slowly to feel the tension. Keep your head up and your back against the wall all the time. Make a set of 10.
  • Sit up straight with your arms at your sides. Shrug your shoulders and release them drastically while you drop them. The muscles may shake after releasing them. It’s only momentary and feels better when it’s over.
  • Sit up straight, slowly lower your head to your chest, then lift your head slowly and gently replace it again. Try to do this in a fluid movement. While doing so, slowly open the mouth so that it is fully open when the head is backwards.

Gentle massage

Massage therapy can be useful to relieve neck pain. Even self-massage tools have been useful for some people.


Acupuncture therapy has been a remarkable help for many people when it comes to treating neck pain.


Learning to relax is an art form, but very beneficial. Stress leads to physical tension, which then leads to pain. Relaxation techniques can be very helpful in reducing pain. Mindfulness, deep breathing and body scanning can be extremely useful tools.

Taking time to do things that you enjoy, or that make you feel calm, can help make the stress of life more bearable. Some like to write a diary, paint or color, spend time in nature, play, bathe or make puzzles. Whatever brings you peace and joy, make time for that!


Many people with fibromyalgia are low in magnesium, which results in muscle cramps and weakness, among other things. If you have a low magnesium content, taking a supplement or using a magnesium oil or spray can help relax the muscles and relieve neck pain.

  • Relief of chronic pain
  • Relief of fibromyalgia pain

Topical cream

There are several creams and ointments that can be used to relieve sore or stiff muscles and to reduce pain in the neck. Many of these products contain natural analgesics, such as arnica.


Over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen, naproxen or acetaminophen, are options that many turn to for relief. A doctor can also prescribe a muscle relaxant to help relieve more intense pain.

When I addressed the community of fibromyalgia on social media, they gave me some suggestions of things that have helped others deal with neck pain from fibromyalgia. These suggestions include essential oils, rice packs used for heat therapy and over-the-counter pain relievers and muscle relaxants.

Research is still being done to find answers about why fibromyalgia causes all the pain it causes. Although we still do not have all the answers, we can console ourselves knowing that we are not suffering alone.

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