Hashimoto’s and Fibromyalgia

Pain caused by an autoimmune thyroid disorder?

Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune thyroid condition. Fibromyalgia is a condition causing a whole-body muscle and bone pain. What do they have in common?

Both conditions cause fatigue, mood, memory and sleep issues as well as some other disturbances. Fibromyalgia is affecting 4 in 10 of people diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and only about 5 in 100 of non diagnosed people (1–3).

Similarities between Fibromyalgia and Hashimoto’s

Affect mostly females

Most of the people are diagnosed in their 40s and 50s, although symptoms may occur from early on

Familial inheritance: If the condition is present in the family, the person is more likely to have it

Problems with sleeping

Weight gain


Irritable bowel syndrome

High TPO and Tg antibodies (even in people diagnosed with fibromyalgia but clear of Hashimoto’s!)

Caused by a combination of genes and the environment (viruses, bacteria as well as chemical substances) (1–9)

Is fibromyalgia an autoimmune disease?

Some researchers say it might be (10), while the others consider it to be a condition primarily affecting the central nervous system. Hashimoto’s has been proposed as a cause, or one of the causes of fibromyalgia (11).

So, the connection to an impaired immune system definitely does exist.

Treating fibromyalgia

To treat fibromyalgia one needs to adjust the lifestyle and work closely with physician and a physical therapist.

Three medications that may be prescribed to alleviate fibromyalgia-caused symptoms are duloxetine, milnacipran, and pregabalin.

Of the alternative treatments, acupuncture, massages, movement therapies and supplements have been reported to sometimes have some degree of success.

What may help?

Following doctor-prescribed therapies

Getting enough good quality sleep

Regular exercise

Adjusting everyday life to fibromyalgia (avoiding tasks that might cause pain, stress or might worsen the condition)

Eating healthy

Diagnosing fibromyalgia

Even though fibromyalgia is a well known condition, it is hard to diagnose it at once. Most of the people will have to see several doctors before receiving fibromyalgia diagnosis. In order to diagnose fibromyalgia, most doctors will use the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria from 1990s:

A history of widespread pain lasting more than 3 months


Waking up tired after whole night’s sleep

Memory problems

Fibromyalgia symptoms can appear and disappear, varying in intensity from day to day and by location on the body, adding to the complexity of diagnosis. Some doctors might try to assess the severity of the pain and specific location of the pain.

If you suspect you might be having fibromyalgia, talk to your doctor, perhaps you can log several days worth of your experiences in Boost before your appointment to facilitate the conversation. Be patient when talking to your doctor, it is not an easy condition to diagnose, and your precise descriptions will help a lot with diagnosis.


  1. Pamuk ON, et al The frequency of thyroid antibodies in fibromyalgia patients and their relationship with symptoms, 2007

  2. Bazzichi L, et al. Association between thyroid autoimmunity and fibromyalgia disease severity, 2007

  3. Bazzichi L, et al Thyroid autoimmunity may represent a predisposition for the development of fibromyalgia? 2012

  4. Stathatos N, et al Autoimmune thyroid disease, 2012

  5. Ahmad J, et al Fibromyalgia and chronic widespread pain in autoimmune thyroid disease. 2014

  6. Tagoe CE, et al. Rheumatic manifestations of autoimmune thyroid disease: the other autoimmune disease, 2012

  7. Tagoe CE Rheumatic symptoms in autoimmune thyroiditis, 2015

  8. Suk JH, et al. Association between thyroid autoimmunity and fibromyalgia. 2012

  9. Bellato E, et al. Fibromyalgia Syndrome: Etiology, Pathogenesis, Diagnosis and Treatment, 2012

  10. Staines DR. Is fibromyalgia an autoimmune disorder of endogenous vasoactive neuropeptides? 2004

  11. Kötter I, et al. Is there a predisposition for the development of autoimmune diseases in patients with fibromyalgia? 2007