Fibromyalgia Is Such a Pain in the Neck

Fibromyalgia Is Such a Pain in the Neck

Through the Fog

My neck and shoulders are the worst areas of my body in regards to pain and muscle tension. So many others I’ve spoken with who have fibromyalgia say the same. What causes those particular pains? Is there something we can do to alleviate it?

One specific kind of neck pain associated with fibromyalgia is occipital neuralgia. It is excruciating pain that starts in the back of the neck and stretches up to the scalp. It can cause pain behind one eye as well as increased sensitivity to light.

Spine-health recommends consistent regular exercise to treat neck and shoulder pain. Starting slowly and increasing over time is best. A couple of exercise ideas are yoga and walking. Getting your blood pumping and doing something that improves flexibility and helps to improve strength is the goal. If you’re bedbound or want a gentle stretch before or after you sleep, I recommend “Yoga in Bed.”

Spine-health also recommends alternative therapies like chiropractic care, gentle massage, acupuncture, or acupressure.

Style Craze also suggests applying essential oils, apple cider vinegar, ice, or Epsom salt to the site of pain. Additionally, it recommends using a neck collar and taking supplemental vitamin C, vitamin B complex, and vitamin D.

Myotherapy is a great option if you’re interested in massage. Myotherapy uses a broader range of massage techniques than a typical therapeutic massage does. They focus primarily on trigger point therapy but might also use other techniques such as dry needling, musculoskeletal alignment, deep tissue massage, cupping, and muscle stretching in addition to a range of rehabilitative exercises.

Neck and shoulder pain can be super frustrating and something we should try to keep on top of. We should pay close attention to our posture and to the tension in our neck and shoulder muscles. The pillow we use can also affect the level of neck and shoulder pain we experience. Neck and shoulder pain can lead to headaches which then increases your overall muscle stress and tension, thus more pain.

Do you suffer from neck and shoulder pain? What do you do to help alleviate it, other than taking meds?


Note: 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 other 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. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.


  1. Annette Sivers says:

    I’ve got a small memory foam pillow shaped like half a cylinder that is brilliant for supporting and resting my neck when I can’t find any comfy position. Because my head goes over the curved bit it keeps my neck in the correct position. I take it everywhere.

  2. Jo T N says:

    Thanks for the confirmation!!I use all of the above for neck/occiput pain. Start with rebounder, up to 100 jumps, and move on to Yoga before I eat in morning. Remembering to ‘work’ with middle finger pressure under you most tender places around occiputal area will often relieve that dull ‘oppressed’ feeling headache. My chiropractor and the regular re-alignment is a blessing, but is expensive over time. Now 79. Have had fibromyalgia since I was 32!

  3. Terri says:

    Oh yes, I am, to my great angst, in my FM, dogged by neck and shoulder pain. And they do create headaches. I did see a wonderful Upper Cervical Chiropractor and she is in process to gently slowly moving my Atlas vertebra a few degrees back to where is should be. But the headaches, though milder, continue BC of the tight muscles. I have forms that certain foods definitely tighten them – chocolate, coffee, sugar, simple carbs, dairy, meat, vinegar, food dyes and preservatives, store bought salad dressings with soybean oil. I’ve gone to a plant based diet. It’s the absolute best to greatly reduce pain and live longer too and with less disease.

  4. Mandy says:

    I have almost constant neck and shoulder pain which was brought on by a car accident originally and now continues with FM! I have weekly appointments with a massage therapist and chiropractor, and use heat and stretching exercises to try and relieve the tight muscles, along with CBD oil and vitamins.

  5. Once again, the best therapy for neck and shoulder pain by Fibromyalgia is TENS(transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation). It is efficient by more than 60% off patients. Iam Anesthiologist ,75 years old and suffer from the disease since 40 years I used Tence 25 years long.

    • Christine says:

      I believe it depends on the FM person and co-factors involved, as to the success of using a TENS unit. Co-factors such as cervical degeneration, nerve impingement, which I have, made my trials using a TENS unit, a negative experience. I tried over a few months using a TENS, and it caused my pain to increase.
      Do you know anything about the “Stimplus Pro by Integrated Health Concepts. I have not purchased one of these, but it would be interesting is anyone out there has used this device.

  6. John says:

    My neck and shoulder pain is the worst area of my body as well, unbearable at times. I get regular massage, take daily meds and during flareups, vape indica (marijuana). This all helps but I desperately need a cure.

  7. Unknown says:

    Stop eating raw nuts saves a lot. It is almost unrecognized that eating raw nuts causes neck and shoulder pain. By enzymes of the nuts if I am not mistaken. A nerve is then triggered above the gallbladder.

  8. Katherine says:

    Yes, shoulder muscle tension is horrid as it leads to a migraine. I get my shoulders,particularly the left one that freezes. I have bursitis in both. I get injections from my rheumatologist and they hurt like hell but my headaches go away and it eases up my shoulders.

  9. Gayle says:

    I too have always had my pain centered primarily in upper neck and shoulders as well as pelvic floor pain. Seeing a NUCCA chiropractor has helped immensely. These specialized chiropractors deal only with the top two vertebrae and do not “crack” you the way a typical chiropractor does. Having my “head put on straight” has decreased the pain in both my shoulders and pelvis. It was described to me like this. If your top vertebrae (your nerve control centre) is misaligned and it twists, and like a dishtowel, if you twist one end the twist will result in the other end. NUCCA chiro treatments have been the strongest tool in my tool box (I had tried years of weekly chiropractor treatments from a typical chiropractor and no where near the same results that lasted way longer) Swimming gentle front crawl and some back crawl laps swimming in a pool with a snorkel to eliminate head twisting helps me feel flushed out and stronger without the pain of other exercises. Real gentle and start for just a few lengths.

  10. karin l bendel says:

    This is very good information on occipital and neck pain. I saw the reference to a neck collar. Does anyone use this? I haven’t and would love some feedback.Thanks.

  11. Maritsa says:

    Hi, I have been suffering from head spasms for months now. I am only 24 years old and this has started after a bad treatment at a therapy office. Any advice on what to do?

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