Is Fibromyalgia Hereditary?

There is no evidence to suggest that fibromyalgia is passed down from parent to child, however, it does appear that some families experience clusters of the chronic illness.

MORE: Six tips to help prevent fibromyalgia flares

According to the Mayo Clinic, the chances of a person developing fibromyalgia are much higher if they have immediate family members who suffer from the disease, compared to those who don’t.

There have been a few studies that have isolated several genes that could be responsible for the onset of fibromyalgia and would explain why it has a tendency to run in some families. These genes play an active role in the central nervous system and how our bodies determine pain. The same genes are also linked to anxiety and depression, which may explain why some fibromyalgia patients respond well to antidepressants.

MORE: Why fibromyalgia feels like a progressive disorder

Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

8 comments

  1. Em says:

    None of the meds for fibro have worked for me nor any antidepressants-all of these meds turned me into a person I, nor anyone else, knew.

    It only feels progressive because of other things changing because of the aging process. PT has had me in a flare for 3 weeks now…last time I mention I have any new pain…I am there for my knees w/ the objective being strengthening my quads to protect my knees that are already bone on bone. I grasp the concept. Only there for my knee and don’t mention what it is doing to the scoliosis, TMJ, DDD of neck and spine…the whole body is connected (or so I thought). PT is a good thing. I was referred for water therapy and I am getting land therapy.

    Word of advice…any new pain, suck it up. I am allergic to all steroids and insurance does not want to pay for anything else.

    I am not alone in this as it is always about the bucks and people do not matter…also a new primary care physician who disagrees w/ a specialist about thyroid med dosage and is increasing the dose which is stabilized after years of PCP’s having numbers wrong. I am allergic to the synthetic and that is what was called in-does anyone ever check a chart???

    Off the subject as I needed to vent somewhere. I am not drug seeking. Maybe old, useless folks are in danger…anyone who cannot contribute money in some way…I worked hard and I did pay into the system!!!

    I would much rather still be working even though I am 65-this is young.

  2. Shar says:

    I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1992 and it took five years to find a doctor who was aware of fibromyalgia, at the time know one had heard of fibromyalgia now everyone and his brother has it. All of a sudden everyone is experiencing it from heredity. I don’t believe the theory that it might come from heredity I feel the only thing that makes since to me is the nervous system might be the cause. I take a anti-depressant at bed time to get better sleep 20 mg but I have found no drug that really helps I would rather live with it until they find the real cause.

  3. Marilyn says:

    I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2006. Since that diagnosis I have also been diagnosed with Osteoarthritis, Degenerative Disc Disease, Sciatica, TMJ Migraine Headaches, Anxiety and Depression. I’ve also had a Partial Knee Replacement on my left knee on June 9, 2016 and Arthroscopic Knee Surgery on my Right Knee, on August 3, 2017. My doctor informed me that in two (2) years my right knee will have to be replacement due to bone on bone and wear of the knee.

    I am a fifty-three year old female whose worked my entire adult life. I had to quit my job as a Parole Officer. My days off work dealing with flare ups and chronic pain became to many. I filed for my Disability in 2013. I thought my medical history alone would be enough to award my Social Security Benefits. But I found out it’s not. I have been denied several times.
    Can you please tell me? What does it takes to get approved my disability. I have great physicians. Who have agreed that I am disabled. But the Social Security Administration continue to deny my case. What can I do?

    • David G Smith says:

      The Social Security Admin. turns everyone down at first, too many people abusing the system I guess. You need to contact a good lawyer and have them represent you. I was originally turned down from benefits for a permanent partial disability of both arms with bicep and elbow tendinitis from a work injury. After I got SSI disability lawyer the judge ruled in my favor.

    • Unfortunately, I think the only thing would be the help of a good lawyer that knows how to jump through the hoops. My mom was on partial disability for over 25 years before she got her permanent disability, and no she couldn’t work while on partial disability. She has since passed but I wish you all the best. I have the fibro and I’m not getting anywhere with the doctors. One tells you one thing and another something else. It gets so frustrating.

  4. Bill Wallmuller says:

    I have been dealing with chronic pain and fatigue since I was 14 years of age. I am now 69. My family is evidence of what you define as a cluster. My sister and I have been both experienced similar symptoms and are officially diagnosed with having fibromyalgia. I myself have had many medical studies, testing, etc., at several major Univesity and teaching hospitals beginning in 1978. To make a long story short, two of my sister’s daughters have also been diagnosed with fibromyalgia along with two of our cousins through the same bloodline. Looking back we can recognize our mother was showing symptoms of chronic pain and fatigue although it was never officially diagnosed. Although we were not tested genetically I do believe that someday there will be found a common gene in clusters that leave those having that gene just waiting for a trigger.

  5. Cindy says:

    Here is a corrected copy of the earlier post that somehow became repetitive. I truly hope it might help someone.

    Hi Marilyn!
    Oh do I sympathize with your situation as I too have been there. There is an organization called ALLSUP (https://www.allsup.com) you may want to seriously consider.
    A good friend’s hubby used them to get his SSD when he was diagnosed with Agent Orange related Parkinson’s disease. Being a veteran myself I put in for both VA disability and SSD at the same basic time several years before meeting the friend who referred me to ALLSUP. It took me three years of dealing with the VA before I won my appeal with them after being turned down by both the VA and SS several times. Each time after I was turned down I put in the necessary paperwork with both again. You have to keep going and not give up which is oh so hard considering how stressful and exhausting the process is for any kind of disability.
    After I obtained my VA disability is when I met my one friend who told me about ALLSUP. It was only a matter of a few months after I signed with ALLSUP that I received my SSD as well. SSD said their decision was based on what the VA determined when they gave me my disability which was for PTSD, depression, fibromyalgia, etc. So I know of two people who won using ALLSUP; my friends hubby and myself.
    There is something I think that needs to be mentioned here. There is a STRONG connection between fibromyalgia and PTSD that the medical community seems to understand. I have read that about half of fibromyalgia sufferers also meet the criteria for PTSD. Google this and you will see what I mean. Here is one research article demonstrating what I’m talking about. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23685006).
    Thus, I believe it is paramount for all fibro sufferers to be screened for PTSD based on this. I had PTSD for many years and no physician/counselor could figure it out until 2008 as so little was known about it. It was much like what we all go through getting a fibro diagnosis. If something else is wrong with a person’s physical or mental system it needs to be addressed. Further, if such a diagnosis is made, it is one more piece of evidence SSD needs to consider and would thus strengthen your case.
    I so wish you all the best. Remember you can’t give up and have to keep soldiering on to get the disability you need.
    Blessings,
    Cindy:)

  6. Barbara Desrosiers says:

    Do you realize that doctors, few and far between, know what fibromyalgia is, treatments, etc. Medical treatments are miniscule and haven’t changed in over 30+ years. I am 78 years old now and the pain still never goes away. It’s now complicated with aging health problems. I recently had an MRI of the brain and have been diagnosed with first stages of dementia. I was drawn to article by Patricia Inacio, PhD, Brain Changes May Explain chronic pain symptoms. Now I wonder if it may be a natural connection between chronic pain and Alzheimer. It makes sense. I would love to have my brain scanned for both. I am 78 years old. If little has been done in diagnose and treatment options in the last 30+ years, maybe I could help those in the future.

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