What Foods Trigger Fibromyalgia Pain?

Ask a Doctor

I’ve had pain symptoms in my muscles and ligaments for about a year now, and I thought it was mostly because I’m a fit, active person and I go to the gym often. The pain recently got worse, and the doctor said I have fibromyalgia. I refuse to let this fatigue and pain slow me down, so I’m going to do everything I can to adjust my lifestyle and stick with my treatment regimen. Should I change my diet? I eat fairly healthy, but maybe there are specific foods or food groups to avoid when you have fibromyalgia. What foods trigger fibromyalgia pain?

Doctor’s Response

When fibromyalgia symptoms worsen, it is called a flare, and diet can be a trigger for flares in some people.

There is no one food that will trigger a flare in everyone, and doctors often recommend patients keep a log of what they eat to see if they notice a pattern. Another way to figure out what foods may trigger fibromyalgia flares is an elimination diet. Avoid foods that are allergens or might cause symptoms such as gluten, dairy, meats, and caffeine. After a short period, you may reintroduce these foods to your diet one at a time to see if symptoms recur. This should be done under a doctor’s supervision.\

Studies have also shown raw vegan, vegan, and even vegetarian diets can reduce pain symptoms in some patients.

Although there is no cure for fibromyalgia, home treatment can relieve some of the symptoms.

  • The most important therapy for the muscle pain of fibromyalgia is regular, low-impact exercise. Keeping muscles conditioned and healthy by exercising three times a week decreases the amount of discomfort. It is important to try low-stress exercises such as walking, swimming, water aerobics, and biking rather than muscle-straining exercises such as weight training. Besides helping with tenderness, regular exercises can also boost energy levels and help with sleep and is a key part of the treatment of fibromyalgia without medications.
  • Other home care techniques that can help include these:

For more information, read our full medical article on fibromyalgia.

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William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR coauthored this article.


Arthritis Foundation. Fibromyalgia Flares: Symptoms, Triggers and Treatment. 13 June 2018. 30 December 2018 .

Dr. Rodger Murphree & Team. Fibromyalgia Foods To Avoid. 30 December 2018 .

FACLM, Michael Greger M.D. Fibromyalgia vs. Mostly Raw & Mostly Vegetarian Diets. 14 January 2013. 30 December 2018 .