Can Fibromyalgia Cause Hand Pain

Can Fibromyalgia Cause Hand Pain? Understanding the Connection

Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that impacts the body’s muscles and bones. It leads to pain all over the body, especially in the muscles, joints, and soft tissues. 

This condition can also cause hand pain, general fatigue, and tenderness.

Hand pain is a common symptom of fibromyalgia. The severity can vary, impacting either one or both hands. The pain can also be associated with stiffness, swelling, and numbness. 

Some people with fibromyalgia may also experience tingling or burning sensations in their hands.

There are several possible causes of hand pain in fibromyalgia. One theory is that the pain is caused by the same central sensitization that causes pain in other parts of the body. 

Central sensitization is when the brain and spinal cord become more sensitive to pain signals, leading to increased pain perception.

Hand pain in fibromyalgia can also be attributed to myofascial pain syndrome. This arises when the hand’s muscles and soft tissues become tense and sensitive, causing pain. 

For treating hand pain associated with fibromyalgia, options include medications, physical therapy, and adopting certain lifestyle habits. Common pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen might offer relief. 

Engaging in physical therapy can enhance mobility and alleviate pain. Additionally, adopting a healthy lifestyle with stress management, regular exercise, and a well-balanced diet can aid in controlling fibromyalgia symptoms.

Causes of Hand Pain in Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a long-term pain disorder affecting millions globally. It causes widespread pain, tiredness, and symptoms like hand pain.

The causes of hand pain in fibromyalgia are not yet fully understood, but several possible factors may contribute. 

Nerve Stimulation

Nerve stimulation is one of the most common causes of hand pain in fibromyalgia. The nerves in the hands can become overactive, leading to pain, tingling, and numbness. 

This can be due to various factors, including stress, anxiety, and muscle tension. When the nerves are overstimulated, they can send pain signals to the brain, even when there is no injury or damage to the hand.

Inflammation and Swelling

Inflammation and swelling can also contribute to hand pain in fibromyalgia. When the body is under stress, it can release inflammatory chemicals that can cause swelling and pain in the hands. 

This can also occur due to other conditions, such as arthritis, commonly associated with fibromyalgia. Inflammation and swelling can make it challenging to use the hands and lead to stiffness and reduced range of motion.

Muscle Strain and Fatigue

Muscle strain and fatigue can also cause hand pain in fibromyalgia. The muscles in the hands can become overworked and exhausted, leading to pain and discomfort. 

This can occur due to repetitive use, such as typing or playing an instrument, or muscle tension and stress. When the muscles are strained or tired, they can become sore and tender, making it difficult to use the hands for everyday tasks.

Can Fibromyalgia Cause Hand Pain

Symptoms of Hand Pain in Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition characterized by extensive pain and tenderness across the body. 

Although its exact cause remains unclear, various stressors are believed to initiate it. 

Such triggers can range from mental stress and familial predisposition to other general health issues. Beyond the all-encompassing pain, fibromyalgia can lead to pain in the hands. 

This hand pain manifests differently in individuals, with common signs of tenderness, stiffness, and numbness or tingling.


One of the most common symptoms of hand pain in fibromyalgia is tenderness. People with fibromyalgia may experience tenderness in the muscles and soft tissues of their hands. 

This tenderness can make it difficult to perform everyday tasks, such as opening jars or gripping objects.


Another common symptom of hand pain in fibromyalgia is stiffness. People with fibromyalgia may experience stiffness in their hands, especially in the morning or after periods of inactivity. This stiffness can make it difficult to move the hands and may cause pain.

Numbness or Tingling

Numbness or tingling in the hands is another symptom of fibromyalgia. People with fibromyalgia may experience numbness or tingling in their hands, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks. This symptom may be more pronounced at night or after prolonged use.

Diagnosing Hand Pain in Fibromyalgia

Hand pain is a common symptom of fibromyalgia. It can be challenging to diagnose because it is often accompanied by other symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, and widespread pain. However, some diagnostic tools can help identify hand pain in fibromyalgia.

A doctor begins diagnosing hand pain in fibromyalgia by conducting a physical examination. They will check the hands for inflammation, swelling, or tenderness. 

Additionally, they might assess grip strength and the range of motion. These evaluations assist in pinpointing potential causes of the hand pain.

A tender point examination is a diagnostic tool where pressure is applied to specific body areas to check for tenderness or pain. 

Unlike trigger points, which are painful muscle areas when pressed, tender points are characteristic of fibromyalgia and assist in verifying a diagnosis.

X-rays, MRIs, and ultrasounds are imaging tests that can help diagnose hand pain in fibromyalgia. They detect any structural abnormalities or damage in the joints or soft tissues that might be causing the pain.

It is important to note that no single test can definitively diagnose fibromyalgia. Instead, a diagnosis is made based on symptoms and diagnostic tests. 

If you are experiencing hand pain and other fibromyalgia symptoms, you must talk to your doctor about your concerns and undergo a thorough evaluation to determine the underlying cause.

Treatment Options

There are several treatment options available for managing hand pain caused by fibromyalgia. These options include medication, physical therapy, and alternative therapies.


Medication is often the first line of treatment for fibromyalgia-related hand pain. The following medications are commonly used:

  • Pain relievers like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen
  • Antidepressants such as amitriptyline and duloxetine
  • Anticonvulsants such as gabapentin and pregabalin
  • Muscle relaxants such as cyclobenzaprine and tizanidine

Medication can offer temporary relief but may come with side effects. Always consult your healthcare provider before beginning any new medication.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a beneficial treatment for hand pain caused by fibromyalgia. Through exercises, a physical therapist helps enhance the motion range, fortify muscles, and lessen pain. Additionally, massage and heat therapy methods can be used to relieve symptoms.

Alternative Therapies

Alternative therapies may also help manage hand pain caused by fibromyalgia. These therapies include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic care
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Tai chi

Alternative therapies might not be effective for everyone, but they suit those seeking treatments without medication. It’s important to consult a healthcare provider before beginning any new therapy.

Can Fibromyalgia Cause Hand Pain

Lifestyle Adjustments for Managing Hand Pain

Managing fibromyalgia-induced hand pain can be tough. Yet, making specific lifestyle changes can help reduce the discomfort and enhance the quality of life for affected individuals.

Exercise and Stretching

Engaging in regular exercise and stretching can alleviate hand stiffness and pain. Activities such as swimming, walking, and yoga are beneficial. 

Stretching enhances flexibility and minimizes injury risks. Always check with a healthcare professional before beginning an exercise regimen.

Hot and Cold Therapy

Warm compresses or heating pads can help soothe muscle tension and improve blood flow, reducing pain and stiffness. Cold therapy, meanwhile, can reduce swelling and numb the area. It’s essential to ensure that the temperatures aren’t too extreme.

Ergonomic Adjustments

Making ergonomic adjustments to the work environment can help reduce hand strain. Using ergonomic tools like a keyboard, mouse, or pen can help reduce the risk of injury. Maintaining good posture and taking regular breaks is vital to avoid repetitive strain injuries.

Mind-Body Techniques

Mind-body practices like meditation, deep breathing, and mindfulness boost well-being, reduce stress, and help individuals with fibromyalgia manage pain and improve their quality of life.


Pain relievers, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants can reduce pain and enhance sleep quality. However, speaking with a healthcare provider before beginning any medication is crucial.


Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition affecting muscles and bones, leading to widespread pain, including in the hands. While the exact cause remains elusive, factors like nerve stimulation, inflammation, and muscle strain play a role. 

Symptoms vary but commonly include tenderness, stiffness, and numbness. Diagnosis involves physical examinations, tender point checks, and imaging tests. 

Treatment encompasses medications, physical therapy, alternative therapies, and lifestyle adjustments. 

For those experiencing fibromyalgia symptoms, especially hand pain, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional for a comprehensive evaluation and tailored treatment plan.

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