Does Fibromyalgia Get Worse as You Get Older

Does Fibromyalgia Get Worse as You Get Older? Does the Pain Grow Stronger?

Fibromyalgia is a long-lasting condition causing pain that affects many people worldwide. It is known for causing widespread pain in muscles and bones, along with feelings of tiredness and problems with sleep.

While fibromyalgia can impact individuals across various age groups, it is frequently diagnosed during middle age. As people with fibromyalgia grow older, they may have concerns about the potential progression of their symptoms.

Shedding Light on Fibromyalgia and Aging, researchers have been investigating the relationship between fibromyalgia and aging and whether the condition worsens over time. 

While some studies suggest that fibromyalgia symptoms may worsen with age, others indicate that the condition does not worsen over time. This has led to a complex understanding of the relationship between fibromyalgia and aging.

Key Takeaways

  • Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized by persistent pain affecting individuals of any age.
  • Studies suggest that the relationship between fibromyalgia and aging is complex, and there is no clear consensus on whether the condition worsens over time.
  • Management strategies, including medication, exercise, and lifestyle modifications, can help improve the quality of life for aging fibromyalgia patients.

Understanding Fibromyalgia Progression

Widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, sleep issues, and mood disturbances characterize fibromyalgia. It is not considered a progressive disorder, but in some cases, it may get worse over time. 

However, the progression of fibromyalgia varies from person to person, and it is not a condition with a predictable course.

Fibromyalgia symptoms may go through flares and remissions. Symptoms are severe during flares, while symptoms are minimal or absent during remissions. The frequency and duration of these flares and remissions vary from person to person.

Research suggests older people with fibromyalgia may experience symptoms longer than younger people. However, it is essential to note that fibromyalgia does not harm the joints, muscles, or organs and does not lead to disability or life-threatening complications.

Does Fibromyalgia Get Worse as You Get Older

Several factors may contribute to the progression of fibromyalgia, including:

  • Stress: Stress can exacerbate fibromyalgia symptoms and lead to more frequent flares.
  • Lack of sleep: Poor sleep quality or insufficient sleep can increase pain sensitivity and worsen fibromyalgia symptoms.
  • Sedentary lifestyle: Lack of physical activity may contribute to weakened muscles, stiffness, and pain, which can worsen fibromyalgia symptoms.
  • Co-existing conditions: People with fibromyalgia may also have other health conditions that can worsen their symptoms, such as arthritis, migraines, or irritable bowel syndrome.

Treatment for fibromyalgia typically focuses on managing symptoms and improving quality of life. This may include a combination of medications, physical therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and lifestyle modifications, such as regular exercise, stress management, and healthy sleep habits.

Fibromyalgia and Aging: A Complex Relationship

Fibromyalgia can occur at any age but is most commonly diagnosed in middle age. Fibromyalgia symptoms can worsen as people age, making it a complex relationship between aging and fibromyalgia.

Factors influencing fibromyalgia progression include age, sex, family history, physical activity, infection, and stress. Potential mechanisms or theories explaining disease progression include the immune system, inflammation, and changes in the nervous system.

The severity of fibromyalgia symptoms can differ among individuals and may progress as time passes. These symptoms can encompass widespread pain, fatigue, sleep disruptions, tension headaches, abdominal discomfort, bloating, and constipation. Additional symptoms may involve tingling or numbness in the face, arms, or legs, stiffness, and restless legs syndrome.

People may experience other health problems as they age, such as arthritis, which can overlap with fibromyalgia symptoms. Fibromyalgia can also cause “fibro fog,” affecting memory and cognitive abilities.

Lifestyle changes, such as incorporating regular physical exercise and adopting stress management techniques, may help manage fibromyalgia symptoms and improve quality of life. A rheumatologist may also prescribe pain relievers and other medications to help manage symptoms.

Management Strategies for Aging Fibromyalgia Patients

As individuals with fibromyalgia age, they may experience age-related changes that can impact their symptoms. However, there are management strategies that can be used to help mitigate symptoms and improve overall quality of life.

One key strategy is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This includes regular exercise, a balanced diet, and getting enough sleep. Exercise is particularly beneficial for fibromyalgia patients, as it can help reduce pain, improve sleep quality, and increase overall physical function. Tai chi, yoga, and other low-impact exercises may benefit aging patients.

In addition to lifestyle changes, various treatments, and therapies can be used to manage fibromyalgia symptoms. Medications like gabapentin and pregabalin can help reduce pain and improve sleep quality. Antidepressants may also help manage symptoms such as depression and anxiety.

Massage, cognitive behavioral therapy, and relaxation therapies such as meditation can also effectively manage fibromyalgia symptoms. Physical therapy might be suggested to enhance physical function and alleviate pain.

It is also crucial for aging fibromyalgia patients to have a robust support system. This can include family, friends, and healthcare professionals who can provide emotional support and guidance on managing symptoms.

Does Fibromyalgia Get Worse as You Get Older


Although fibromyalgia can impact individuals across various age groups, it is typically diagnosed more frequently during middle age. It is common for people to wonder whether fibromyalgia symptoms worsen with age.

Based on the available research, it appears that fibromyalgia does not get worse as you get older. While the symptoms may persist, they do not generally become more severe. Some people may experience a decrease in symptoms over time.

One study found that, of the participants diagnosed with fibromyalgia for at least ten years, nearly a quarter reported having at least one symptom-free period lasting at least a year. While this is not the case for everyone, it suggests that fibromyalgia is not necessarily progressive.

However, it is essential to note that fibromyalgia can still significantly impact a person’s quality of life. It may result in work disruptions and other challenges. There are many ways to address these issues, including various treatments and lifestyle modifications.

We want to hear from you! We’re interested in your opinion on the question: “Does Fibromyalgia Get Worse as You Get Older?” If you have experience with fibromyalgia or know someone who does, we would love to know your thoughts. 

Do you believe that fibromyalgia symptoms tend to worsen as people age? Your input is essential and can help shed light on this topic. Please take a moment to share your perspective with us. We appreciate your valuable insights!


  1. Alice Murray

    I would say so having suffered since I was 18 which was then fibrosysis and later fibromyalgia I feel the older I get (60) it gets a lot worse and affects me daily to some extent

  2. I would say yes it does get worse as I get older. I was diagnosed at 43 and now 10 years on, I say that my symptoms have worsen. I went from working 5 days a week to just being able to handle 3 days. My sleep patterns have got to a point that I sleep for about 2 hours on and off
    I would just like more people to understand this condition.

  3. Yes, it does get worse as you age. I’ve been ill with “something” since I was a child and it really reared it’s head during my teen years. I’ve gotten progressively worse, am now 60. Was diagnosed initially with Lupus then they waivered off and on for a few years until diagnosed with Fibro around 15 years ago. There have never been any “remissions” for me, it’s full-on all the time although I do have times when I seriously don’t think I can stand the pain, complete exhaustion and all the other fun things that go with this “condition” before I lose my mind. There is not enough being done about this. I’ve yet to find a DR who really understands, even my own who HAS Fibro herself doesn’t seem to get it. Maybe I’m a worse case because I push myself through the pain and almost always go to work everyday and still function, even if on a minimal scale at home.

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