A voice for
herbal medicine

We share traditional, scientific and practical insights written by experienced herbalists and health experts from the world of herbal medicine and natural health

Fibromyalgia is the third most frequent musculoskeletal condition


Fibromyalgia causes pain all over the body and extreme fatigue.

Understanding fibromyalgia


Fibromyalgia is a commonly diagnosed condition: the third most frequent musculoskeletal condition (1) and can have a big impact on people’s daily life. It is characterised by a collection of symptoms often including (but not exclusive to) widespread pain, sleep issues, physical exhaustion, and cognitive difficulties (2) (see signs and symptoms section for further details). 

In 2011 the charity Fibromyalgia Action UK suggested that fibromyalgia is seen in around 2% of the population, affecting more women than men (at a 9:1 ratio), with around 14,000 new diagnoses each year (3).

However, a more recent report from 2019 / 2020 detailing surveys of healthcare professionals carried out across the UK, to profile the healthcare services available to people with fibromyalgia, suggested that the condition affects around 2.5 million people in the UK, which according to 2022 figures is closer to 3% of the population (4).

From pooled qualitative data of the surveys and those of people with fibromyalgia, three themes concerning the condition and healthcare availability emerged:

  • A troublesome label
  • A heavy burden
  • A low priority

The survey also reported that tools designed to support the fulfilment of fibromyalgia diagnostic criteria were used inconsistently by clinicians diagnosing fibromyalgia, raising the question of whether diagnoses are accurate (4).  Although more accurate diagnostic criteria have improved diagnosis, a considerable proportion of doctors still fail to recognise fibromyalgia (1).

3 out of 10 GP’s surveyed also reported not diagnosing fibromyalgia, with reasons being:

  • Lack of skill and confidence
  • Uncertainty about whether fibromyalgia is a distinct condition
  • Opinion that the diagnosis may not help patients.

This highlights the challenges which may be faced with anyone experiencing fibromyalgia, however there are herbal and holistic solutions which can be of support.

Many herbs are suitable for self-care. However if a health condition does not resolve with home remedies we recommend using the information in Herbal Reality along with your health advisors, especially herbal practitioners from the professional associations listed in our Resources page (‘If you want to find a herbalist”). When buying any herbal products, you should choose responsible manufacturers with independently assured quality standards and sustainability practices. Check the label carefully for the appropriate safety and sustainability information.

Sign up to our Newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter to receive the very latest in herbal insights.

Sign up to our newsletter