Fibromyalgia can occur at any age, but it’s most commonly diagnosed in middle age.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain, coupled with other symptoms such as fatigue, sleep problems, and cognitive issues.

The condition is relatively common, affecting about 2% of adults in the United States. While fibromyalgia can develop at any age, most people with the illness develop symptoms between the ages of 30 and 50.

Most people are first diagnosed with fibromyalgia in their 30s or 40s.

Can fibromyalgia get worse with age?

While fibromyalgia is a chronic disease, it’s not a progressive one, so it won’t necessarily worsen over time. Studies looking at the influence of age on health and well-being in people with chronic illness have produced mixed findings.

However, one study published in 2002 found that some aspects of fibromyalgia may become less severe with age.

The study analyzed 600 people (mostly women) with fibromyalgia: young (20–39), middle-aged (40–59), and older (60–85). The results suggest that older people may experience symptoms for a longer period of time, but these symptoms are generally less severe compared to the symptoms experienced by younger people.

Still, in some cases, fibromyalgia symptoms may worsen with age due to the development of other health conditions, such as osteoporosis, or age-related changes in the body. For example, the body’s natural ability to heal itself and regulate the immune system may decline with age, which could contribute to worsening symptoms.

What age does fibromyalgia peak?

There’s no specific age at which fibromyalgia peaks, as the severity of symptoms and the course of the condition can fluctuate over time and may worsen or improve at any age

Fibromyalgia can occur at any age, including children, but it’s most commonly diagnosed in middle-aged adults, particularly women.

What is the youngest age to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is relatively uncommon in young people, but it can occur in adolescents and even younger children. In general, a fibromyalgia diagnosis in younger individuals can be challenging due to the overlap of symptoms with other conditions (i.e., growing pains, depression) and the limited research on the condition in pediatric populations.

The first signs of fibromyalgia vary from person to person, but common symptoms may include:

  • Widespread pain: This may be a dull ache or a burning sensation that occurs all over the body.
  • Fatigue: Feeling tired or exhausted, even after getting enough sleep.
  • Morning stiffness: People with fibromyalgia often report feeling stiff and achy when they wake up in the morning, and this can last for several hours.
  • Cognitive difficulties: This can include difficulty concentrating, memory problems, and a “foggy” feeling.
  • Sleep disturbances: Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or feeling refreshed after sleep.
  • Headaches: Tension headaches or migraine attacks may occur frequently.
  • Digestive issues: This can include abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.
  • Mental health symptoms: Many people with fibromyalgia also experience anxiety and depression.

Evidence suggests that these conditions are often seen with fibromyalgia:

While fibromyalgia can be a chronic and sometimes debilitating condition, it’s not considered a life threatening illness and doesn’t typically affect life expectancy. However, it can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life and daily functioning.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition that can be challenging to treat, as it can cause a wide range of symptoms and may have multiple underlying causes. There’s currently no cure, and treatment generally aims to manage pain and other symptoms.

Treatment typically involves a combination of medications, lifestyle changes, and other therapies that are tailored to the individual’s specific symptoms and needs.

Medications for fibromyalgia may include:

  • Skeletal muscle relaxants: These muscle relaxers can help to relieve muscle spasms and improve sleep. They work by decreasing the activity in the central nervous system, which can help to reduce pain and promote relaxation.
  • Anti-epileptic agents: Some medications commonly used to treat seizures, such as gabapentin and pregabalin, can be effective in reducing pain in fibromyalgia. They work by decreasing the excitability of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
  • Anesthetics: Some anesthetics, such as lidocaine, can be administered as injections or patches to help reduce pain in specific areas of the body.

However, evidence suggests that only a small number of people with fibromyalgia experience substantial symptom relief with medications.

Other treatments may also include:

Fibromyalgia is a chronic illness characterized by widespread pain, fatigue, cognitive issues, and sleep disturbances. The condition can develop at any age, but it’s more common among middle-aged and older adults.

If you have fibromyalgia, it’s important to work closely with a healthcare provider to develop an individualized treatment plan that addresses your specific symptoms and needs.