Fibromyalgia and Adrenal Fatigue

This post may contain affiliate links but at NO extra costs to you. For further details, please read my full disclosure policy.

Let’s dive into a topic that often intersects with our daily battles: Adrenal Fatigue. While this topic may not be unfamiliar to many of you, it’s essential to understand the connection between adrenal fatigue and fibromyalgia and how managing both can significantly improve our quality of life.

Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal fatigue is a term used to describe a collection of symptoms that occur when our adrenal glands, which produce hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, become overworked and unable to function optimally. For those of us living with fibromyalgia, the impact of adrenal fatigue can be particularly challenging.

What are the adrenal glands?

The adrenal glands are part of the endocrine system and are located just above your kidneys. The glands are responsible for regulating over 50 hormones which, in turn, regulate a majority of the body’s functions including sleep, digestion, growth, and emotions.

What are the symptoms of adrenal fatigue?

The symptoms of adrenal fatigue can closely mimic those of fibromyalgia, making it difficult to distinguish between the two conditions. Common symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:

Fatigue: This goes beyond the typical fibromyalgia fatigue and often involves a constant feeling of exhaustion, even after a full night’s sleep.

Muscle and Joint Pain: Adrenal fatigue can exacerbate our existing fibromyalgia pain, making it more intense and widespread.

Sleep Disturbances: Both conditions can lead to disrupted sleep patterns, resulting in a vicious cycle of pain and fatigue.

Brain Fog: Adrenal fatigue can worsen cognitive issues, making it even more challenging to focus and remember things.

Mood Swings: Anxiety and depression are common companions of both fibromyalgia and adrenal fatigue.

Fibromyalgia and Adrenal Fatigue Linked

As you can see, a lot, if not all, of these symptoms are the same symptoms seen in fibromyalgia patients. While the exact cause of fibromyalgia remains a mystery, it’s believed that chronic stress and trauma can play a role in triggering fibromyalgia symptoms. Adrenal fatigue is essentially a result of prolonged stress on our bodies, and it can contribute to the onset or worsening of fibromyalgia symptoms.

So how do we know what is fibromyalgia and what is adrenal fatigue? First, we could try improving our adrenal glands and lowering adrenal fatigue.

If your adrenal glands are overworked and exhausted, it’s difficult to properly manage fibromyalgia symptoms because many of the symptoms overlap. It’s hard to figure out what to address first (adrenal glands or fibro), but checking on the glands is the first step. If they are fatigued, then improving them with the treatments listed above could help improve the fibro symptoms.

Managing Adrenal Fatigue

Stress Reduction: Incorporate stress reduction techniques like mindfulness, meditation, or gentle yoga into your daily routine.

Balanced Diet: Ensure you’re eating a well-balanced diet rich in nutrients to support your adrenal glands. The Fibro Diet is a great place to start.

Adequate Sleep: Prioritize sleep and establish a consistent sleep schedule to help your body recover.

Limit Stimulants: Reduce or eliminate caffeine and sugar, which can further stress your adrenals.

Supplements: Consult with a healthcare provider about supplements like B vitamins, magnesium, and adaptogenic herbs that may support adrenal health.

Functional medicine provider Dr. Amy Myers has a great article about “The 5 Best Adaptogens to Combat Stress and Adrenal Fatigue“. If you think you may have adrenal fatigue, let your doctor know your concerns and which symptoms you’re experiencing. Ask him or her to check your hormone levels.


Understanding the link between adrenal fatigue and fibromyalgia is crucial for our well-being. By addressing adrenal fatigue through stress management, a balanced lifestyle, and proper nutrition, we can potentially alleviate some of the symptoms that make our fibromyalgia journey even more challenging. Remember, it’s all about self-care and taking one step at a time on this path toward better health.

adrenal fatigue overview
image from Dr. Axe

35 thoughts on “Fibromyalgia and Adrenal Fatigue”

  1. Pingback: Fibromyalgia Sleep Wake Cycle

  2. Thanks for letting us know more about adrenal fatigue. My endocrinologist basically shut me down and wouldn’t even order tests for diagnosis. Needless to say having fibromyalgia is tough enough, but when doctors refuse to listen, one can become discouraged.

      1. Marguerite Marino

        Hi I am 58 and I have fibromyalgia I also have degenerate disc disease lately I have had a lot of problems sleeping, then when it is time to wake up it is almost impossible. I have had the numbness in my thighs and then if I sit or stand too long I will get this burning pain in my thighs . I have also been getting headaches a lot also I thought it was from my eyes . Do you think this could be adrenal fatigue? What kind of test should I ask my doctor to run ? I am so sick of feeling like this . It takes me a lot long to do stuff lately.

        1. Hi, Marguerite, I’m having similair issues with numbness and weakness in my legs. I have no idea what it is, and I am seeing a physician about it today. I don’t think these symptoms are related to adrenal fatigue, but rather from neuropathy. I’ll know more about it this afternoon.

        2. Having degenerative disc problems I’m sure your facing another auto immune problem, Rheumatoid Arthritis…if they haven’t checked yet. This will cause your headaches and if standing too long, you might even feel like your legs want to give out from under you along with the burning. I have Fibromyalgia & Rheumatoid arthritis & more that I won’t get into. Also, you should check with your heart doctor about your legs. They have common symptoms too, just to be safe

          1. My doctors didn’t catch the adrenal fatigue early enough. I do have fibromyalgia and CFS/ME, among other diagnoses. As a result of not catching it early, I am in (and have been since late 2011), complete central adrenal Insufficiency. I have to take low dose steroids for life to replace what my body no longer produces.

        3. I also have degenerative disc disease, Fibromyalgia, sm fiber Neuropathy, & Sjogrens Syndrome.. Sometimes, the pain in my legs is so severe, i cannot walk.

          1. I have degenerative disc disease also ,fibromyalgia, arthritis, celiac disease, neuropathy, SLE Lupus? Possibly bipolar depression , sleep apnea vitamin D deficiency who knows what else . The pain is so severe at times and pain medicine doesn’t help at all . I do find neuropathy oil dose seem to help for a short time I also have hearing impairment, plus nuralogical problems
            Sometimes I don’t know what to do . Especially when people talk to about me and say nothing is wrong with me but I have proof from my doctors, there are lots of times where my joints lock up to where I can’t even walk, I get burning tingly numbness, the pins and needles stabbing pain plus shooting pains in my head and eyes also.

    1. So true! My doctor has done the same to me over other things I’ve asked her about and I think it’s because she really doesn’t know what to do except the recommended basics of anti-depressants. (I’ve already gone thru the useless Gabapinton, Lyrica and pain pills.). Thanks for this article though! I’m going to ask her about it next time. You never know, she may say, “Let’s take a look!”.

      1. You’re right! She may not know what to do. Giving her direction would be good. Also, thyroid and lyme also mimic fibromyalgia. Have those checked as well (if you haven’t already).

    2. Kate, my Dr ran a blood test and said my adrenals were fine, I kept searching for answers and found a Nurse practioner than had me do saliva test which showed my adrenal were overworked. Went to local Medicine Man and started taking a recommended supplement. Not only did my energy increase but my thyroid levels stabilized. I had a total thyroidectomy, years ago.
      Insurance doesn’t pay for the saliva test, but it was money well spent

      1. I have fibro and I really need an energy boost. I am so tired all the time and can’t sleep at nights. I hurt so bad that I’m miserable and tired of finding new ways to get comfortable. Please tell me what supplement to take. Just a little energy is better than none.

      2. Carol I was diagnosed 2 yrs ago with fibromyalgia but I’m feeling I could be back g issues with adrenal fatigue as well and possibly rheumatoid arthritis. Long history in my family. I don’t remember ever having the saliva test. I didn’t know that existed even. Blood test for adrenal was normal. But I’ve not felt normal for quite a while. What supplement did you start taking that helped you ???

    3. My friendly friend told me, if dr doesn’t want to run tests you’ve asked for ,time to get another dr. It’s your money , find a dr that will help you. There are good drs out there.
      Good luck.

    4. It took me 10 years to get diagnosed with fibromyalgia my doctor ran every test imaginable until finally she sent me to Mayo clinic and I was diagnosed with it 33 years ago. I have had a very painful painful life with this dreaded disease and now I have rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

      1. Yeah I feel ya all ladies and same I also have osteoarthritis degenerative disc disease and fibromyalgia and Sciatica and crumbling bones in my lower back and hips as well as endometriosis and severe depression and severe anxiety and learning difficulties and autism so yeah I hear ya man and it sucks doesn’t it ☹️

        1. Bella, I am so sorry for all your problems. I have had fibro, chronic fatigue, depression, for forty years. It is not fun but there can be wonderful days and weeks. I am lucky because I can do almost anything I want to (except I can no longer work), I just pay for over doing later. I am good for about four hours a day, then I must rest. In those four hours I can do a great deal. I see friends 2-3 times a week. I play cards or play other games with friends or family. I read a great deal and am on my Kindle. My youngest brother and his wife moved into my home after I lost my husband two years ago. They are my rocks. I thank God daily for the grace he gives me. I have fibro, etc, it sucks but I am blessed and enjoy my life. I pray you too may find peace and joy!

        2. I feel you Bella, I have so much h it’s sickening .
          That sciatic is worse, and restless legs. I xan handle pain if they would just figure it out.
          I have fibromyalgia and fibro fog.
          I loss my sister in January. Mother in February.
          The stress I have held in no crying, well it’s like I just started over.
          I know for spasms and restless legs, Baclofen works great.
          Hope you feel better.

    5. Thank you so much for the helpful information. I swear most times doctors and people think it’s all in your head.

      1. To all you Spring Chickens, I am much older and swear I have been tired since I was born. Starting seeing the docs when in nurses training years ago. Fast forward to 80’s
        Diagnosed with Hashimotos thyroid after being seen by Psych. Then Was suckered into a ‘ Lymes Vax trial’, by my PC, bad reaction, two years later Pfizer pulled same,
        Could not tol. muscle/ joint pain and tiredness any longer. Finally went to a Rheumatoid doc who believed in Fibro/ CFS. Started to feel better on antidepressants . Weight gain was like 30 lbs. plus menopause and 3 children,6,7 & 10. Add OA & Scoliosis, severe OA ankle and foot, 2 inoperable brain aneurysms. Oh, in 2000, needed CPAC still use, AND neuropathy which makes balance off. Covid has made it almost the last straw. EXCEPT daughter convinced me to see top Endocrinologist next month for Adrenal review. Of course, she is a VMD. Didn’t think I looked that bad !

  3. Hi! I am 29 and have had fibro for some years now but only diagnosed 2 1/2 years now. I have been doing lots of research and seen countless doctors. They all say it’s either undiagnosed sleep apnea (which I had a negative sleep study) or it’s related to abuse I have suffered in my past (basically it’s in my head). So I don’t know what to think or do anymore… I did start taking a new supplement that has helped alot. But its so frustrating to not know exactly what is going on with my body. . I’m still pretty young but feel 80…I need answers… :/

    1. Hi, Amber, It’s difficult to figure out what exactly is causing the issue. For me, chronic pain triggered fibromyalgia. Some days I struggle to figure out if it’s more of my pain or a fibro flare. I’ve managed to get my sleeping and eating healthier, and now my pains have calmed down. If you’d like to chat more, contact me via my Facebook page.

      1. Hi ! I got my face all with blemishes and small red spots.Otherwise my skin was so good and glowing.I am very upset after suffering from fibromalgya.

    2. Hi, Amber,
      There are actual studies that show links between traumas and fibromyalgia & other chronic health conditions, so that does not mean it’s “just in your head.” There’s a wonderful book that has been very helpful to me called “Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology” by Donna Nakazawa. I encourage you to not pass off the idea of fibro being related to abuse/trauma in your past; I know without a doubt that mine are related!

  4. I was just glancing through some of the posts and am wondering if any of you have tried acupuncture for your fms?

    I am sad when I hear that people’s doctors don’t always take them seriously etc. I hope you all end up finding a doctor that you have a good relationship with because I can’t imagine the frustration you must feel during and after appts with them.

    I wish good days ahead for all of you. I want to say great days, but am being realistic I guess. If anyone has great days with their fms, teach me your ways!!

  5. Hi. My name is Stephani, I am 50yrs old and have fibro, 3 spinal surgeries one after the other the past 3 yes. I still have issues with spine. I recently was told that an MRI found several cysts on my kidneys and adrenal gland. I have to wait a month to get into a urologist. I am thinking if he does not order hormone test I should ask. I get severe pain in my left hip and groin. It makes walking so painful at times I cry. Even laying down it throbs to my heartbeat. I swear all we continue to do is chance these doctors in hopes for relief that seems to be a dream.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that, Stephani! Yes, ordering hormone tests would help determine if the levels are off. That could cause issues, too.

    2. Jennifer fisher

      I was wondering what has been happening to you recently. we have similar issues so I’d love to hear how you are doing and any recent updates?

  6. I’m not sure if this has anything to do with adrenal fatigue, but I’m throwing it out there. I’m 49, was told I had fibromyalgia in 2000- didn’t believe him, but was diagnosed with MS in 2011, by 2012 I had 3 more specialists diagnose me also with fibromyalgia. I had noticed for years that at the least amount of stress, my adrenaline would skyrocket- like when you get really scared and my heart rate would go through the roof! Lately I had to add a new high blood pressure med which was supposed to help my headaches too. It’s propranolol. Anyway, I feel a lot better as far as headaches, high blood pressure and the feeling of adrenaline going up. I just wondered if this helps anyone or if anyone experienced anything like that?

  7. I did acupuncture to help some arthritis; the treatment threw me into so much pain. After months of testing, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, neuropathy (not diabetic) etc., and started physical therapy for other items. Dry needling has been a better treatment process for headaches, pain and knots

  8. I’ve been officially diagnosed by doctors with lupus (SLE), fibromyalgia, chronic pain syndrome, chronic intractable migraines, tinnitus, anxiety, Addison’s disease (adrenal insufficiency), lumbar disc disease, bilateral bursitis, mid-cervical disc degeneration, major depressive disorder and chronic gastritis.
    I am on numerous medications (including steroids) and I currently see 9 specialists.
    I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, I am in constant pain from my head down to my feet. At least once a month, I get severe gastritis and start retching uncontrollably. All I “eat” is Ensure, so once that comes out I just keep retching bile while becomes so incredibly painful because my body was already in so much pain to begin with. Then a horrendous migraine starts. When you have screaming tinnitus AND migraines it’s like hot knives in your head positioned inside to stab your brain and skull over and over while someone screams as loud and high as they can right in your ears. Then the retching starts again just exploding pain from your body from in inside out.. stomach, chest feels like it’s exploding. Head feels like its exploding. Sweating profusely, crying uncontrollably, lying on the floor of the bathroom near the toilet with urine soaked. shorts, I feel as though I’m being burned alive from the inside out. I can’t move. Everything hurts too much. hurts to breathe, hurts to talk. This is Addison’s. Its been 3 days of this… it happens every single month. And my symptoms are getting worse.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top