Does Fibromyalgia Run in Families?

There are research studies frequently publishing showing a genetic link in fibromyalgia. There is a 75% chance that if your parent had it, you are going to end up with the same disease. Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal pain that goes on for life and it may have its effects on offspring.

This musculoskeletal pain disorder can occur in your family members including your mom, aunt, grandmother and also yourself may have it. The early studies from 1989 show that fibromyalgia may be an inherent condition.

Due to various means of conducting the research, and vast tests, the actual numbers have not been reliable across the studies. Around 25% of the offspring of people with fibromyalgia, also have fibromyalgia. Frequency is higher among females (Nearly 41%) than that among males (Nearly 14%).

Reasons for Prevalence of Fibromyalgia In Families

There are several reasons that a disease or health issue is most likely to run in your family, take diabetes for example. The most obvious reason behind this is genetic, however, the environment can play an important role. And, personality can sometimes mitigate the role of either of those.

Genetically Transferred

When there is a triggering event, a trauma or an accident of some sort, it is possible that many of the family members having no sign of fibromyalgia, may later be diagnosed with it. When it triggers without trauma or an accident, then it is possible that you got it genetically.


Fibromyalgia is mostly diagnosed between age 25 to 35, we can not assume that the environment of the family remains the same throughout. Our environment changes as we leave our houses to go for groceries or go to the office etc. People share the environment at the same time. But, at the peak of its symptoms, when you really know it’s fibromyalgia, you know it is because of the environment change.

In this shared environment, the most common thing is diet. We often eat the same diet long enough without changing it. Some researchers and patients would say that diet is the main cause of fibromyalgia because if you don’t eat well, you don’t stay healthy. But, I might say that it is just a contributing factor in a long list of causes of fibromyalgia.


More often, personalities vary within families. This explains why some people in the family never experience fibromyalgia, while others have it. However, that is just in the case of genetic illness. You may have a genetic tendency to this illness but that does not mean you are going to have it. It only means that your chances of getting this disease are higher.

How it Effects Genetically

The genetic effect is always there and fibromyalgia is always there running within families. However, medical science says that genetic effect is removable because of either change in the environment or by going through some other illness. There have been many studies to identify which genes trigger fibromyalgia and all studies vary from each other.

There are more than a few genes in fibromyalgia, there have been numerous researches to find fibromyalgia genes within people’s genes. However, the researchers seem to find variations of one or more genes in fibromyalgia genetics. Yet, there were no specific genes, as to be the cause of the fibromyalgia illness.

In 1999, a study was published on families in which two or more family members were diagnosed with fibromyalgia. They found a weak genetic link among those family members in the HLA region.

In 2001, the researchers found differences in the serotonin transporter gene. And, the fibromyalgia patients have had a higher depression level and psychological stress. Therefore, it is really difficult to tell that whether this genetic difference is because of the stress or depression or is it because of fibromyalgia.

In 2011, huge research was published in which doctors examined over 350 genes that have been connected to various symptoms. Which are fibromyalgia, inflammation, chronic pain, and mood. In that study, they found numerous gene variations that are common among people with fibromyalgia. Some of them are:


This gene is associated with many developmental disorders like autism and epilepsy and more.


This gene regulates the spread of mood-related chemicals including dopamine and serotonin.


This gene is involved in terminating signals from the opioid receptors.


This is the Cannabinoid Receptor. Variations in this gene have been linked to multiple chronic pain conditions.

In a nutshell, fibromyalgia can be in families, through genetics and depending on the environment of your home. But what actually triggers genes to cause fibromyalgia is still unknown because of the variations in genes. And that makes diagnosing fibromyalgia more difficult on the basis of genes. It is possible that the presence of gene abnormality can be the cause of fibromyalgia, combined with the right set of occasions. Simply because there are other possible causes for fibromyalgia.

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