Are fibromyalgia and long Covid connected?

by | Aug 8, 2022 | Acupuncture and back pain, Acupuncture for pain management, Coronavirus

I have been working with fibromyalgia clients for many years, relieving their symptoms of joint and muscle pains and fatigue. What I and other practitioners are now seeing more of is a crossover between symptoms of fibromyalgia and long Covid.

What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia literally translates as pain in the muscles and connective tissue. It is more commonly seen in women than men and affects around 1 in 25 people in the UK. There’s often no obvious cause for the pain, and fibromyalgia is commonly associated with other chronic conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, and depression.

Standard treatment for fibromyalgia includes painkillers, antidepressants, tranquillisers, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

How are fibromyalgia and long Covid connected?

In a study of over 600 patients, Italian researchers found that 30.7% of long Covid sufferers met the diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia. The researchers are calling this new condition “FibroCovid” in recognition of the crossover between the conditions.

The two issues share a common pathway of inflammation and pain in joint and connective tissues. One of the key features of covid-19 is inflammation and nerve damage in varying parts of the body. For some sufferers of long Covid, this inflammation seems to affect their joints and muscles more than other areas of the body, leading to a crossover with fibromyalgia.

In addition, one of the potential triggers for fibromyalgia is viral infection. The researchers speculated that coronavirus could trigger fibromyalgia in several different ways, including by skewing the immune response, damaging the neuromusculature (the points in the body where nerves and muscle tissues interact) and by upregulating the release of inflammatory messengers.

How does acupuncture help with fibromyalgia and long Covid?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Acupuncture provides a personalised approach to care.  I design bespoke treatments for my clients based on their personal health history and symptoms and include guidance on nutrition and lifestyle alongside the needling treatment. Acupuncture has been shown to help fibromyalgia by: 

  • Stimulating nerves in muscles and tissues to release endorphins, the body’s own ‘feel good’ chemicals
  • Improving the microcirculation in muscles and connective tissues to alleviate stiffness and improve mobility
  • Altering the balance of chemicals in the central nervous system to enhance pain relief and mood elevation
  • Influencing opioid receptors in the pain and sensory processing areas of the brain 

These mechanisms mean Acupuncture is also well placed to support recovery from long Covid. As well as alleviating pain and discomfort, Acupuncture can also modulate the immune response, helping to strengthen your resistance to future infections. 

    Pain relief – a speciality

    Pain relief is one of my clinical specialities. As a member of the British Acupuncture Council, I am an official Appropriate Provider of Care under the NHS AQP implementation pack for musculoskeletal services. I provide safe and effective care for all kinds of painful conditions – including fibromyalgia, long Covid, back pain, migraine, and more.

    To find out more about how Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncture can help manage symptoms of fibromyalgia and long Covid, call Tiziana TODAY on 07788 633292 or email .

    Tiziana is one of the UK’s top 3 Acupuncturists. Read her outstanding client reviews at Free Index.