Is pain in Parkinson's disease due to a fibromyalgia-like process? (2023)

Fibromyalgia is a condition causing chronic widespread pain and tender spots. The American College of Rheumatology Research Criteria for the Classification of fibromyalgia (ACR-RCC) were developed in 1990. The criteria necessitate 11 or more of 18 anatomically defined tender spots. Thus with the correct training it is possible for anyone to accurately diagnose fibromyalgia by following the ACR-RCC criteria.

(Video) What is Fibromyalgia and what causes it?

Pain is very common in Parkinson’s disease affecting around 70% of patients. Many patients with Parkinson’s disease have chronic widespread pain unrelated to their mobility problems. In this regard, pain in Parkinson’s disease is similar to pain in fibromyalgia. Furthermore many of the chemical changes which have been shown to occur in Parkinson’s disease also occur in fibromyalgia. This has lead us to speculate that pain in Parkinson’s disease may be generated via similar mechanisms to the generation of pain in fibromyalgia.

(Video) Pain and Parkinson's Disease

There have been several well controlled clinical trials demonstrating the effectiveness of various medications to treat pain in fibromyalgia. These medications include gabapentin, pregabalin, amitryptilline and duloxetine. On the contrary, there have been very few clinical studies documenting effective pain killing treatments in Parkinson’s disease.

(Video) Fibromyalgia Symptoms: Not Just Pain–Shocking List Will Surprise

Thus if we can prove that pain in Parkinson’s disease is caused by very similar mechanisms to pain in fibromyalgia then we will understand a great deal more about the pathophysiology of pain in Parkinson’s disease. We will also be in a strong position to investigate novel treatment strategies for pain in Parkinson’s disease based on the fact that these strategies have shown to be effective in fibromyalgia.

(Video) Fibromyalgia: Living with chronic pain - BBC Stories

The aim of this study is to use the ACR-RCC criteria and validated questionnaires to assess for the presence or absence of fibromyalgia in Parkinson’s disease compared to a control population.

(Video) Fibromyalgia | A Whole Body Pain Experience and Fatigue


What causes pain in Parkinson's patients? ›

The doctors explain that pain is common in Parkinson's disease, often due to rigidity or dystonia, which can be exacerbated by "off" periods. Pain caused by Parkinson's symptoms can be relieved by Parkinson's medications, exercise, DBS and botox injections.

What kind of pain is associated with Parkinson's? ›

Musculoskeletal pain: Because of decreased mobility, postural changes, falls and sometimes fractures, Parkinson's can cause muscle and bone achiness. Many people also have lower back pain and even associated sciatica (pain, tingling and numbness radiating down the back of one leg).

Is fibromyalgia a precursor to Parkinson's? ›

Parkinson's has never been explicitly connected to chronic fatigue syndrome or FM, but many of the secondary symptoms (muscle rigidity, increased muscle tone, contracted muscles, autonomic nervous system problems, gait problems, cognitive issues, sensory issues and mood disorders) can be found in both.

What type of pain is most severe in Parkinson's disease? ›

Central pain

But this type of pain is known as the most severe form of pain in PD. People who have central pain describe it as feeling like: Bloating. Burning.

What is the best pain relief for Parkinson's? ›

Gabapentine and pregabaline are well known to be effective in neuropathic pain, to reduce the release of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate [81] and therefore are suggested as therapy for this type of pain in PD as well.

Do you get a lot of pain with Parkinson's? ›

Pain is a common symptom in Parkinson's, affecting about 60% of people with the condition.

Does gabapentin help Parkinson's pain? ›

Conclusions: This study demonstrates that gabapentin improves rigidity, bradykinesia, and tremor of parkinsonism including both Parkinson's disease and Parkinson's syndrome.

What is the first symptom seen in the majority of patients with Parkinson's disease? ›

Parkinson's disease most commonly begins with a tremor in one hand but can also cause limb stiffness or slowness of movement without tremor. Or, perhaps, someone else may notice that you're not swinging your arm normally as you walk.

Does Parkinson's pain come and go? ›

The symptoms can come and go with suddenness, prompting some to compare it to turning a light switch on and off. Doctors sometimes shorten the interval between levodopa doses or prescribe additional medications to provide relief during off periods.

What is the cousin of Parkinson disease? ›

Multiple system atrophy – the cousin of Parkinson's disease. MSA is a degenerative brain disorder that impairs the body's functions, including blood pressure, heart rate, bladder function and is related to Parkinson's disease. The cause of MSA is largely unknown, and affects men and women equally.

What is Parkinson's disease most closely associated with? ›

Scientists believe a lack of dopamine causes Parkinson's disease. That deficit, they say, comes from a disorder of nerve cells in the part of the brain that produces the chemical.

What is the root cause of fibromyalgia? ›

Fibromyalgia is often triggered by an event that causes physical stress or emotional (psychological) stress. Possible triggers include: a serious injury, such as after a car accident. an infection, such as Epstein-Barr virus or Lyme disease.

What is the sister disease to Parkinson's? ›

PSP is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease, especially early in the disorder, as they share many symptoms, including stiffness, movement difficulties, clumsiness, bradykinesia (slow movement), and rigidity of muscles.

What is the most common body site for musculoskeletal pain in people with Parkinson disease? ›

The most common MSP sites are the lower limbs and back. Levodopa therapy can alleviate MSP with an 82.52% response rate. Women and higher LEDDs are more likely associated with a higher risk of MSP than PD-related motor symptoms, which has substantially changed our understanding of PD with MSP.

What are signs of Parkinson's getting worse? ›

Symptoms usually begin gradually and worsen over time. As the disease progresses, people may have difficulty walking and talking. They may also have mental and behavioral changes, sleep problems, depression, memory difficulties, and fatigue.

Is CBD oil good for Parkinson's patients? ›

CBD has been discovered as an effective way to help treat Parkinson's disease symptoms because it interacts with two cannabinoid receptors in the body found on certain cells called CB1 and CB2.

What are the best vitamins for Parkinson's? ›

Some supplements may help reduce symptoms of Parkinson's disease, including:
  • vitamins B, C, D, and E.
  • omega-3 fatty acids.
  • whey protein.
  • coenzyme Q10.
Oct 31, 2022

What medications should be avoided in Parkinson's disease? ›

Avoid contraindicated drugs

John's wort, cyclobenzaprine, dextromethorphan, pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine, and ePHEDrine. There are alternative choices within these categories of medications that are safer to use for patients with Parkinson's disease.

Does End Stage Parkinson's cause pain? ›

Pain occurs in up to 50% of PD patients, occurs throughout the disease, and remains an underreported complication of end-stage PD [6]. It can stem from a number of factors including musculoskeletal causes, motor, and non-motor complications. The most common motor causes are limb rigidity and dystonia.

What causes pain and stiffness trouble walking with Parkinson's? ›

Most people with Parkinson's have some rigidness that makes it hard to move parts of the body. That's because your muscles can't relax normally. This may also cause you pain.

How quickly do you deteriorate with Parkinson's? ›

Some people experience the changes over 20 years or more. Others find the disease progresses more quickly. It is difficult to accurately predict the progression of Parkinson's.

What is stage 2 Parkinson's disease? ›

Stage 2 of Parkinson's disease is considered a 'moderate' form of the condition, with symptoms becoming more noticeable than the previous stage. Examples include noticeable tremors, stiffness, and trembling. Also, changes to facial expressions can occur but are not always apparent to others.

At what stage of Parkinson's does dementia start? ›

The diagnosis is Parkinson's disease dementia when a person experiences dementia at least one year (and usually several years) after the onset of symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's disease symptoms may include changes in movement like a tremor.


1. What is Fibromyalgia?
(Mayo Clinic)
2. Fibromyalgia
(Nucleus Medical Media)
3. Chronic Pain, Centralized Pain, Flares, & Fibromyalgia: Examination and Multidisciplinary Strategies
4. All About Fibromyalgia
(Musculoskeletal Australia)
5. Fibromyalgia: It's Real, It's Manageable, What You Can Do
(University of California Television (UCTV))
6. My Chronic Pain Story | Fibromyalgia
(Weylie Hoang)


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