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
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.
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
Adjusting everyday life to fibromyalgia (avoiding tasks that might cause pain, stress or might worsen the condition)
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
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.
Pamuk ON, et al The frequency of thyroid antibodies in fibromyalgia patients and their relationship with symptoms, 2007
Bazzichi L, et al. Association between thyroid autoimmunity and fibromyalgia disease severity, 2007
Bazzichi L, et al Thyroid autoimmunity may represent a predisposition for the development of fibromyalgia? 2012
Stathatos N, et al Autoimmune thyroid disease, 2012
Ahmad J, et al Fibromyalgia and chronic widespread pain in autoimmune thyroid disease. 2014
Tagoe CE, et al. Rheumatic manifestations of autoimmune thyroid disease: the other autoimmune disease, 2012
Tagoe CE Rheumatic symptoms in autoimmune thyroiditis, 2015
Suk JH, et al. Association between thyroid autoimmunity and fibromyalgia. 2012
Bellato E, et al. Fibromyalgia Syndrome: Etiology, Pathogenesis, Diagnosis and Treatment, 2012
Staines DR. Is fibromyalgia an autoimmune disorder of endogenous vasoactive neuropeptides? 2004
Kötter I, et al. Is there a predisposition for the development of autoimmune diseases in patients with fibromyalgia? 2007