Oscillations in Specific Brain Waves May Be Related to Fibromyalgia Symptoms, Study Finds

Oscillations in Specific Brain Waves May Be Related to Fibromyalgia Symptoms, Study Finds

A new study from the U.K. shows that oscillations, or variations, in specific brain waves seem to correlate with fibromyalgia (FM) pain symptoms and fatigue in a small group of female patients.

Findings from the study, “Altered theta oscillations in resting EEG of fibromyalgia syndrome patients,” can be found in the European Journal of Pain.

Previous studies have shown that fibromyalgia as well other chronic pain conditions can affect brain activity. However, many of the experimental studies are unable to distinguish whether altered brain activity is a result of acute pain attacks or is more reflective of an ongoing state of sensitization.

The current study assessed the resting-state brain activity to better understand the relationship between fibromyalgia symptoms and brain oscillations.

Using electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings, the researchers looked at changes in recordings between 19 female fibromyalgia patients and 18 age-matched healthy controls. The average age of the participants was 40.

Oscillations in different wavelength were assessed. These included the delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma frequency bands.

To correlate the results with fibromyalgia-associated symptoms, the team also used the Manual Tender Point Scale (MTPS) to quantify pain and tenderness and other measurement tools to assess mood, arousal, and fatigue.

As expected, fibromyalgia patients reported higher levels of pain and decreased mood, and were significantly more tired compared to healthy participants.

Concerning brain activity, the fibromyalgia patients had higher levels of theta activity relative to healthy controls in the prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex regions.

Oscillations in both the medial prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex have been shown to relate to a reduction of pain inhibition.

Importantly, in this small cohort of female fibromyalgia patients, the increased theta brain activity correlated with measures of pain, tenderness, and tiredness on the day of testing. No correlations between these measures and brain activity were seen in healthy controls.

“The findings indicate that alterations to resting-state oscillatory activity may relate to ongoing tonic pain and fatigue in [fibromyalgia], and manifest in brain regions relevant for cognitive-attentional aspects of pain processing and endogenous pain inhibition,” the researchers wrote.

“Increased prefrontal theta activity may contribute to persistent pain in fibromyalgia or represent the outcome of prolonged symptoms,” they added.

The team suggests that therapeutic interventions aimed at normalizing neural oscillations could help ease the symptoms experienced by fibromyalgia patients.


  1. I am 78 years old and have had fibromyalgia for about 40 years, starting with migraines. I recently had an MRI and was diagnosed with beginning stage Alzheimer’s. I have been enquiring about the possible connection of fibro fog to this diagnosis. I have had minor memory problems for awhile now. I tried to ask my doctor, but she has shrugged it off. It’s hard to get doctor’s to crossover diagnosis symptoms. It’s been an on going problem to get treatment for fibromyalgia over the years, never mind this new symptom. It scares me of what’s ahead for me. A medication was prescribed for the Alzheimer’s, but the side affects were worse, so I declined. So now what?

    • A. Kasin says:

      You are on the right track. There IS a coorelation between Alzheimer’s and Fibromyalgia, among other diagnoses too such as ALS, MS, and Parkinson’s. There is also a connection to Lyme disease, and chronic lyme disease. In one particular study Lyme was found in 100% of the Alzheimer’s patients’ brains they tested!! A similar study was conducted and they found Lyme in >75% (I forgot the actual number but know it was crazy high) of ALS patients brains (found after patient was deceased). Docs know Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are quite similar in many ways, to these other conditions.

      I would encourage you to look into possibly having acquired Lyme from a tick bite -perhaps twenty plus years ago even- it’s a nasty disease!!! The other very strong coorelation of the same symptomology is found in Mercury Toxicity. If it was me, I would be tested immediately by an excellent lab like Igenex for mercury poisoning….it causes Alzheimer’s and there are people out there that literally stopped experiencing the Alzheimer’s symptoms once they rid their body of the heavy metals.
      I wish you the best. I’ve been researching all of this for months now and it’s insane all that I found!!!

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