Study Links Obesity & Fibromyalgia – Not Sure I Completely Agree

A new study that was recently conducted at the University of Utah says that there is a possible link between obesity and an increased severity of Fibromyalgia symptoms.  The report says that some Fibromyalgia patients could see a decrease in their symptoms by losing weight.   Here is the study information from the Journal of Pain:

The main objective of the present study was to evaluate the relationships between FMS and obesity in the multiple FMS-related domains: hyperalgesia, symptoms, physical abilities, and sleep. A total of 215 FMS patients completed a set of self-report inventories to assess FMS-related symptoms and underwent the tender point (TP) examination, physical performance testing, and 7-day home sleep assessment. Forty-seven percent of our sample was obese and an additional 30% was overweight. Obesity was related significantly to greater pain sensitivity to TP palpation particularly in the lower body areas, reduced physical strength and lower-body flexibility, shorter sleep duration, and greater restlessness during sleep. The results confirmed that obesity is a prevalent comorbidity of FMS that may contribute to the severity of the problem. Potential mechanisms underlying the relationship are discussed. 

This report presents how obesity may be interrelated to fibromyalgia pain, disability, and sleep. We found that obesity is common in FMS. Approximately half of our patients were obese and an additional 30% were overweight. We also found that obesity in FMS was associated with greater pain sensitivity, poorer sleep quality, and reduced physical strength and flexibility. The results suggest that obesity may aggregate FMS and weight management may need to be incorporated into treatments.

Now here is my problem with these types of studies and theories.  I have been underweight, overweight, and obese – all while having Fibromyalgia – and I have always had a lot of pain and I still have a lot of pain – even after losing 42 pounds.  I still need the same amount of pain medication that I was taking when I was 42 pounds heavier, I am actually in more pain sometimes now that I am thinner, and while my knees didn’t hurt as much there for a while, they are starting to bother me just as badly as they did before I lost weight. 

I understand that being overweight and being obese causes a lot of health problems.  But there are so many of us out here with Fibromyalgia that have been obese and at a healthy weight that can testify that weight hasn’t made a damn bit of difference in our pain levels, sleep issues or any of the other symptoms they claim that losing weight will help.  I still remember when I went to a weight loss clinic one time the lady who was the manager told me that the cure to Fibromyalgia was losing weight.  I was sick because I was overweight, according to her.  I had to break it to her that I was a skinny little thing whenever I first became sick so being overweight had nothing to do with it. 

The reason that Fibromyalgia patients tend to gain weight is because of the lack of activity once we get sick along with our hormones going haywire, making our metabolism sluggish.  Not being able to sleep well also can cause weight gain if lack of sleep is happening on a regular basis and for Fibromyalgia patients, it usually is.  If patients can still exercise it doesn’t mean they will lose weight.   I was exercising for 6 months and didn’t lose a pound – and I was going to the gym on a regular basis.  

It doesn’t matter what I do – I am ALWAYS IN PAIN.  I lost weight, I exercise, I go to physical therapy, I do everything under the sun possible to try and get rid of the pain and IT DOESN’T GO AWAY.  Obese or not – I still have Fibromyalgia, I still have pain, I still have sleep issues.  Losing weight is not a magic pill for something as complex as Fibromyalgia.

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  1. I completely agree. Weight doesn’t make any difference at all. I was underweight when I first got fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. After going on several meds (none of which worked for me, I gained a great deal of weight. I stopped the meds and lost all the weight. The pain is the same either way.
    Obese people will certainly have a number of problems but to say that it is related to fibromyalgia is just plain wrong.

  2. I started to gain weight in 2000. No matter what I did, I gained weight. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2004 and told that it had been noted on my medical records in 2000 but not followed up. My own doctor has been very supportive and has helped investigate sluggish metabolism and prescribed weight management drugs. All, however, to no avail. I am still continuing to put on weight. I stopped being able to jog, then stopped walking, then stopped everything that aggrevated the pain. Now I know I need to do something and pain will be my constant companion but I don’t know how to start. No gym trainer seems to understand there is a medical condition which needs managing. They simply look at my obesity and tell me what a ‘normal’ person should be doing! God save me from fit instructors who think it is merely laziness that stops me pounding away on a machine! There is a C25K programme on the internet which helps unfit people get going again. Is there something for C2anything programme out there!!!!

  3. I’m skinny and was always was thin with severe fibromyalgia and CFIDS. I hate studies like these and have visions of kidnapping or murdering the bastards that produce them. It’s an insult to those with fibromyalgia who are obese and insulting to us thin fibromyalgia people too because they are wasting precious research money on nonsense instead of finding out what is truly wrong with us and causing this hellish pain.
    (I am not really planning on kidnapping people who produced this study, or Simon Wessley or anyone else…just fantasising of being healthy, sigh…)

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