This article on Epainassist.com has been reviewed by a medical professional, as well as checked for facts, to assure the readers the best possible accuracy.

We follow a strict editorial policy and we have a zero-tolerance policy regarding any level of plagiarism. Our articles are resourced from reputable online pages. This article may contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.

The feedback link “Was this Article Helpful” on this page can be used to report content that is not accurate, up-to-date or questionable in any manner.

This article does not provide medical advice.


Is Fibromyalgia an Autoimmune Disease?

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that causes chronic pain throughout the body. It also causes nerve pain and dysfunction, pain in the bones and muscles, certain spots of tenderness throughout the body, sleep and cognitive disturbances, anxiety, as well as general fatigue. There is currently no cure for fibromyalgia, but there are several treatment options that focus on managing the pain to help reduce the severity of the symptoms. Some experts believe that fibromyalgia can be classified as an autoimmune disease since so many of the symptoms of this condition overlap with those of other autoimmune disorders.(1,2,3,4,5)

Determining the exact cause of fibromyalgia can help doctors find better preventive measures and treatment options that focus on reducing the pain symptoms.

Is Fibromyalgia An Autoimmune Disease?

In people with autoimmune disorders, the body starts to attack itself as the immune system begins to mistakenly identify the healthy cells of the body as being harmful or dangerous viruses and bacteria. As a response to this, the body starts manufacturing autoantibodies that start destroying the healthy cells. This attack causes damage to the tissues and inflammation in the affected area.(6,7)

When it comes to fibromyalgia, though, there is not enough evidence to show that this is an autoimmune disorder. Fibromyalgia is not classified as an autoimmune disorder because it does not cause inflammation. There is also very little evidence to show that fibromyalgia causes any damage to the tissues of the body.(8,9,10,11)

It is challenging to diagnose fibromyalgia as the symptoms of the disease are associated with or mimic other conditions, including several autoimmune disorders. In some cases, a person can get fibromyalgia simultaneously with autoimmune disorders.

Some of the other conditions that are associated with the symptoms of fibromyalgia and pain include:

What Does The Research Say About Fibromyalgia?

There is no doubt that several autoimmune disorders have similar symptoms and characteristics to fibromyalgia. It is also common for people to experience fibromyalgia pain and an autoimmune disease at the same time. This often makes it confusing to diagnose and to figure out if fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disease.

A 2007 study concluded that there are high levels of thyroid antibodies found in patients who have fibromyalgia. However, this presence of thyroid antibodies is quite common, and sometimes, no symptoms are visible. (14)

Another study from 2013 discovered an association between the pain caused by fibromyalgia to small nerve fiber neuropathy. However, this association has not been accepted widely.(15)

Another animal study published in 2021 indicated a potential autoimmune origin, but the evidence from the study was not sufficient to prove the connection.(16)

Though the research does suggest some sort of relationship with autoimmunity, but there is not enough evidence to firmly classify fibromyalgia as an autoimmune disorder


Even though fibromyalgia has many similar symptoms and characteristics as many autoimmune disorders, it is not yet classified as an autoimmune disease. However, this does not indicate that fibromyalgia is not an actual condition. There is just not enough evidence currently to classify fibromyalgia as an autoimmune disorder. If you have questions about fibromyalgia and you suspect that you may have an autoimmune disease, you should discuss your doubts with your doctor.


  1. Chakrabarty, S. and Zoorob, R., 2007. Fibromyalgia. American family physician, 76(2), pp.247-254.
  2. Häuser, W., Ablin, J., Fitzcharles, M.A., Littlejohn, G., Luciano, J.V., Usui, C. and Walitt, B., 2015. Fibromyalgia. Nature reviews Disease primers, 1(1), pp.1-16.
  3. Clauw, D.J., 2014. Fibromyalgia: a clinical review. Jama, 311(15), pp.1547-1555.
  4. Clauw, D.J., 2009. Fibromyalgia: an overview. The American journal of medicine, 122(12), pp.S3-S13.
  5. Goldenberg, D.L., Burckhardt, C. and Crofford, L., 2004. Management of fibromyalgia syndrome. Jama, 292(19), pp.2388-2395.
  6. Meyer, O., 2009. Interferons and autoimmune disorders. Joint Bone Spine, 76(5), pp.464-473.
  7. Avrameas, S., Alexopoulos, H. and Moutsopoulos, H.M., 2018. Natural autoantibodies: an undersugn hero of the immune system and autoimmune disorders—a point of view. Frontiers in immunology, 9, p.1320.
  8. Borchers, A.T. and Gershwin, M.E., 2015. Fibromyalgia: a critical and comprehensive review. Clinical reviews in allergy & immunology, 49(2), pp.100-151.
  9. Buskila, D., 2009. Developments in the scientific and clinical understanding of fibromyalgia. Arthritis Research & Therapy, 11(5), pp.1-8.
  10. Buskila, D. and Sarzi-Puttini, P., 2008. Fibromyalgia and autoimmune diseases: the pain behind autoimmunity. The Israel Medical Association Journal, 10(1), p.77.
  11. Rudin, N.J., 2019. Fibromyalgia. In Pain (pp. 693-697). Springer, Cham.
  12. Gür, A., Karakoç, M., Nas, K., Denli, A. and Saraç, J., 2002. Cytokines and depression in cases with fibromyalgia. The Journal of rheumatology, 29(2), pp.358-361.
  13. Hoffmann, R.G., Kotchen, J.M., Kotchen, T.A., Cowley, T., Dasgupta, M. and Cowley Jr, A.W., 2011. Temporomandibular disorders and associated clinical comorbidities. The Clinical journal of pain, 27(3), pp.268-274.
  14. Pamuk, Ö.N. and Çakir, N., 2007. The frequency of thyroid antibodies in fibromyalgia patients and their relationship with symptoms. Clinical rheumatology, 26(1), pp.55-59.
  15. Üçeyler, N., Zeller, D., Kahn, A.K., Kewenig, S., Kittel-Schneider, S., Schmid, A., Casanova-Molla, J., Reiners, K. and Sommer, C., 2013. Small fibre pathology in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome. Brain, 136(6), pp.1857-1867.
  16. Goebel, A., Krock, E., Gentry, C., Israel, M.R., Jurczak, A., Urbina, C.M., Sandor, K., Vastani, N., Maurer, M., Cuhadar, U. and Sensi, S., 2021. Passive transfer of fibromyalgia symptoms from patients to mice. The Journal of clinical investigation, 131(13).

Also Read:

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 10, 2022

Recent Posts

Related Posts