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Skin Rashes and Fibromyalgia Syndrome

By: Suzanne Elvidge BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 23 Sep 2018 |
Skin Rashes Fibromyalgia Syndrome Dry

The most common symptoms of fibromyalgia syndrome are the widespread muscle pain and allodynia (an extreme pain response to pressure). Some people find that they also develop skin rashes and other skin disorders and changes associated with fibromyalgia syndrome. These can be distressing, making people feel uncomfortable and conspicuous or unattractive, and can add to the feelings of depression and isolation.

Skin Rashes and Fibromyalgia Syndrome

People with fibromyalgia syndrome are more likely to have sensitive skin than the rest of the population, and between 50% and 80% of people with fibromyalgia syndrome will develop skin rashes or other skin complaints. These can affect already disturbed sleep, and add to the allodynia, making it even more difficult to find clothes that are comfortable.

The rash is usually red, and may be raised and bumpy. It can also be sore or itchy, or cause a crawling sensation in the skin. Some rashes could be a reaction to medications – if this is possible, always consult a doctor, nurse or pharmacist. A hypoallergenic moisturiser, a gentle cream designed for nappy rash such as Sudocrem, or an over-the-counter corticosteroid cream, may help.

Some people with fibromyalgia syndrome are sensitive to light (photosensitive), and this can cause skin reddening, soreness and rashes. High factor sun creams may help.

What Causes Skin Problems in Fibromyalgia Syndrome?The exact cause behind the skin problems in fibromyalgia syndrome is not completely clear. People with fibromyalgia syndrome seem to have increased immune system activity under the skin. This could lead to release of histamine, which can lead to itching, rashes and skin discomfort, and heparin, which reduces blood clotting and could lead to development of bruises. If this is the cause, antihistamine tablets and creams may help.

Skin rashes can also be a sign of lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE – also see ‘Fibromyalgia Syndrome and Lupus’), which has similar symptoms to fibromyalgia syndrome, but is an autoimmune disease. Any concerns about diagnosis should be discussed with a doctor or nurse.

Other Skin Complaints in Fibromyalgia Syndrome

Another skin symptom in fibromyalgia syndrome is itching. In fibromyalgia syndrome, while the brain often misinterprets pressure signals as pain, it may also become further confused and wrongly interpret touch or pressure, triggering an itching sensation. Putting cold packs or cold compresses on the areas that are itching may help. Other skin sensations include numbness, tingling, a crawling sensation, or a feeling of burning.

People with fibromyalgia syndrome tend to develop dry skin, which can worsen the itching. This can occur anywhere on the body, but may be most severe in the hands and fingers. To treat or prevent this, avoid harsh soaps and shower gels and keep skin well moisturised, especially after baths and showers – this will also reduce any itching. Avoid anything with too many artificial fragrances – cocoa butter or shea butter, or hypoallergenic baby products may help. Corticosteroid creams may also help, but consult a doctor or pharmacist first.

The skin in people with fibromyalgia syndrome is tender to the touch, particularly at the so-called tender points or trigger points (allodynia), and they may find that they bruise or scar more easily, and that bruises take longer to heal. Skin colour can change, becoming darker – this may be related to over-production of melatonin.

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To all that suffer as I do with Fibromyalgia you must read the following: Myofacial stetching a guide to self treatment by: Jill stedronsky and Brenda parady, sold on Amazon. This is a must! Go to website of John F. Barnes, Myofacial release approach. Please read all including the study report. Very informational. I do not get the rash but understand that Sudocrem, over the counter cortisone steroid really helps. I just finish reading all of this and found it very informative and I am going to research the doctors and begin the stretching exercises. I am going to try and find an FMR therapist, (Myofacialrelease Osteopathic doctor) DO who performs OMT, Osteoparhic manipulative treatment, and study YIN Yoga.All this is on the website. PLEASE read it all.I pray for all of you and myself that a cure will be found. I love you all. Mare
Mare - 23-Sep-18 @ 6:17 AM
I was diagnosed I believe 2 years ago at the age of 24.In the last two years I have just acquired more and more symptoms some including the normal fatigue, shaky, brain fog, etc but then some more odd ones like this rash that started with just couple spots...now, my back is just about covered and a couple on my stomach.I also get these weird rash on my shoulders and chest that come and go. My arms, half the time do not work too well, hands and all.Every couple weeks or so, depending on how much I do, I have a couple days of just crashing, cant stay awake.I take way too many pills for a human, let alone my age.I will say I feel a little better reading these comments, knowing others possibly understand how hard life can be.
chickenlady - 3-Sep-18 @ 2:39 AM
@Maz - I have on my back. Dark spots and mottled rashes (dark patches) are just another symptom in the endless ones we have to deal with. Heat makes it worse.
Bri - 4-May-18 @ 10:49 AM
Hi, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, but I was just wondering if anyone has pigment change in they're skin? I have got dark patches of skin, the whole of my underarms have gone dark brown along with my forehead and patches on my cheeks? Thanks.
Maz - 3-May-18 @ 3:46 PM
Does anyone ever have rashes below the belt or in labial region? I have spots of rash on my back and chest but also have issues with itching in pubic areas. It’s uncontrollable with any medication I have tried. Miserable!
Red - 21-Mar-18 @ 2:09 AM
Hemp cream can ease some itching and soothes the skin for some. I have the full butterfly rash and rashes up my arms, across my chest, photosensitivity to the point of flaring up within 5 minutes of being in fluorescent lighting, and extreme sensitivity to smell-not to mention pain, inability to think clearly, dry eyes, etc.. If you are ok with real peppermint, a nice cooling aid when you are burning up or itching madly is a few drops of organic peppermint essential oil in water as a spritz. This has saved me many times, I carry it everywhere. Cbd oil also helps more than more conventional meds. I can not take Lyrica, it makes me very sick, Cymbalta helps a little, but so far, there is no real good med out there.
Alys - 16-Dec-17 @ 3:27 PM
Patty you are right nobody knows what we go through.i hat the commercials for Lyrica as they make it out to take this pill and you are back up chipper as ever. Everytime I took Lyrica i got so sick i though I was going to vomit all my guts up. Because of all the complications I talked about above in other note i am confined to bed and wheelchair. Thank the Lord medicare paid for a hovearound for me but my husband 9r daughter have to take me every where and load the heàvy chair onto the çarrier.I hate when people ask what is wrong with you cause you say fibromyalgia and you can tell by their reaction they think you are a crock. No sympathy or compassion. They tend to change the subject and ar3 no longer interested in what you have to say. We definitely need more research andpositive publicty on it so people would be willing to donate to find a cure. Problem is it is not a disease that causes shortness of life or affects children so they don't feel it is importànt enough to use use research dollars on.If they only knew how painful the muscles and join5s can be and the terrible headaches and how severely the itch is all the time. All I can do is give it to the Lord and stay ever so faithful to Him and pray constantly for m6self and all of y9u out there with it. Jesus is th3 only way i get through it.
Gabby - 30-Aug-17 @ 10:22 AM
I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia 30 but it did not become bothersome till about 10 yrs ago following an auto accident. I fractured several ribs and my sternum and started going downhill rapidly. It seemed like overnight I developed artritis in knees hips fingers spine and a lot of places. They can't do joint replacement because my muscles are too weak and I wouldn't be able to rehabilitate properly. Ijust started the severe rash on upper torso and arms and face. Nothing I do seems to help.Does anyone have any magic potion esp for the rash. I don't want it all over my face for sure,
Gabby - 30-Aug-17 @ 9:37 AM
I don't think I realised how this condition would have the ability to make me feel. So tired, tender, itchy, spaced out at times. Memory has definitely become as issue....it exists, believe us....
Faith - 11-Aug-17 @ 9:25 PM
I have itching all over drives me crazy feels like creatures crawling made worse with hot water from shower .cant sleep ,I exercise a lot and watch my diet
Browneyes - 7-Aug-17 @ 11:28 AM
Four years ago, Zyrtec stopped working for me. I had been on it for more than 20 years. Then the rashes and blisters developed. I also have fibromyalgia, asthma, and allergies. I have tried EVERYTHING. The only thing now that keeps it under control is lotion for psoriasis. After reading up on fibromyalgia, I found the reason why the lotion works (you can also use underarm deodorant) is the zinc oxide. If you don't use Zyrtec, try taking it daily (it may take up to 3 months for it to be in your system good) and lotions with zinc oxide.
tamiegail - 8-Jun-17 @ 8:08 PM
The only thing that keeps my rash away is a red light called Angel light at the tanning booth.I would use the special therefore light that hospitals use but there isn't one in the town I live in, so Dermotologist said as long as I don't turn pink, tanning beds are ok 3 or 4 times a week for 3-4 minutes and the red light for 12 minutes every day.It's the only thing that works.
Lakewinds - 10-Mar-17 @ 2:44 PM
Excellent article.I have rashes all the time. Some stay, some go away with cortisone cream. I had a pregnancy rash (all over my body) two weeks before I gave birth.The only cure was to give birth.I wonder if others with fibromyalgia had this as well.
Deb - 1-Dec-16 @ 11:47 PM
Great to read this article.I have had a rash across my neck, throat, and upper chest for a long time.It never goes away and at times it flares up and I actually have raised bumps that have white heads.Normally when this happens it is widespread.I also think there is a slight rash on my cheeks and across my nose.I have fair complexion and freckles so it is a little hard to tell, but it actually looks like the butterfly pattern seen with lupus.It is not nearly as fiery red as what you see in most pictures of the lupus rash.I have been diagnosed with fibro for several years now, and have been tested for a number of autoimmune disordersAll are negative but I do have elevated, inflammation levels.I have very dry eyes and am on Restasis, but have not been on it long enough for results.I have been unable to see well especially for reading, and they can't get an accurate reading for a new prescription.Hopefully, the Restasis will work.It is interesting about the itching also and I have had this at times.I've had it to the point that I have scratched myself so much that I am about to bleed and will have bruises.Seems like every time I turn around there is a new symptom.
Lil - 12-May-16 @ 11:10 PM
I have skin rashes. I get huge welts on body and it feels hot at times. My finger tingle and have pain. And sometimes i feel tingles thru out my body. I wish there was a doctor who knew more about this. Nobody knows what we are going thru. they need more research for this.
Patty - 12-May-16 @ 6:24 PM
Can you address the relationship of fibromyalgia and IBSplease
cam - 20-Aug-15 @ 9:03 PM
I have fybromyagia and I'm miserable..have all the see symptoms and more trying to Learnmore about it and trying to just deal with everyday life.
lynda - 13-Jul-15 @ 6:00 PM
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