Fibromyalgia Action UK
40,240 members52,351 posts

Fibro and balance....or not

( I FOUND THIS THE OTHER DAY. FOUND IT INTERESTING AS IVE NEVER HAD GOOD BALANCE ) You may feel more steady on your feet with fibromyalgia one day, while your movement can be way off-balance the next day. When clumsiness strikes, your legs start clipping the edges of furniture and your shoulders knock against the walls. It’s like being in a pinball machine, except you don’t get any bonus points for the extra bruises!

What makes your fibromyalgia body more wobbly some days than others? According to a study by Nuray Akkaya, M.D., and his research team in Turkey, your quality of sleep the night before plays a major role in how well you navigate movements the next day.* But sleep was not the only factor he found that was related to the potential for balance mishaps in people with fibro.

Akkaya compared the postural stability (e.g., balance) of 48 fibromyalgia patients and 32 healthy controls. The body mass index, which is a relative indicator of excess weight, was the same for both groups. The average age was also the same for each group (around 34 years old), so the participants were quite young. No one was on a sedating medication or a drug that might interfere with postural stability testing.

A balance testing system was used to produce a value for the relative fall risk for each person in the study. The fall risk computed for the fibromyalgia group was double that of the healthy control group.

Subjects stood on a platform that measured the relative pressure exerted by each foot when they were asked to modify their standing position, such as neck turned to the right or eyes closed. A person challenged by these simple changes will have more postural sway, meaning one foot presses down harder on the platform. It sounds easy, but many fibromyalgia patients found these tasks to be difficult.

Obviously, a person’s leg function can help keep a sturdy, upright posture when changing positions. Each participant’s lower-body muscle strength was measured along with their ability to stand on one leg. Questionnaires were used to assess various symptoms, such as pain, fatigue, and overall function.

“Postural performance was worse in the fibromyalgia patients compared to the control subjects and it was related to the severity of fatigue and sleep quality in the last 24 hours,” says Akkaya. “Fall risk was found to be related to lower-body strength and scores for the one-leg stance test.” However, the duration of fibro, rating of pain, overall function, and quality of sleep for the past week (not just the previous night) were NOT related to balance in the fibromyalgia patients.

Although all subjects with vestibular-related symptoms, such as ringing in the ears and dizziness, were excluded from the study, vestibular system abnormalities were still detected in the fibromyalgia group. In addition, the sensory signals from the feet (which inform the brain about your stance) and postural reflexes also might contribute to balance disturbances.

“There is no single mechanism that can account for postural instability in fibromyalgia patients,” says Akkaya. However, he points out that warm water therapy improves muscle strength and balance in fibro patients, which is consistent with his finding that reduced leg strength increased risk of falling. So improving lower body function (perhaps with a walking program) and the quality of sleep (using drug and nondrug approaches) should make you more steady on your feet.

11 Replies

As I said before I found this very interesting and read it a couple of times to get the gist of it. But I was thinking just a couple of minutes ago whilst de-stinking my kitchen, that if this is being done then someone is funding it. I wonder who is funding it. Is it the government? And if it is why are they funding it? I myself am on SERC, which is for the balance problems caused by the menieres, and to a degree it helps with the fibro balance problems, but not fully. So although at times my balance is pretty naff, I do get breaks from it from time to time. But I am so curious as to just who is funding these tests. Thanks for posting this here as I am hoping it may help others to understand what they are going through xxxxx


I duno who's funding it, but the piece was written by Kristen Thorson, Editor, Fibromyalgia Network, if thats any help. It was posted up on boxing day, but i cant remember WHERE it was posted.... typical,lol.xx


Hi everyone,

Interesting to read , and it seems it is from a journal called Clinical Rheumatology

Reference from website below :

* Akkaya N, et al. Assessment of the relationship between postural stability and sleep quality in patients with Fibromyalgia. Clin Rheumatol [epub ahead of print] Nov. 21, 2012.

Obviously with all research you need many studies before a conclusion can be made and I wonder what the website in question has decided to print from the article. It may be worth a read all the way through to see what that whole paper reported.

Interesting to see what further studies report to provide more evidence to this kind of assessment regarding postural stability and sleep quality.

Best Wishes



personally i read all sorts of bumf on internet am always researching and watching videos.

i think mine is spinal cord compression cervical as before this happened i do not recall really having major issues until 2011 .

do you all use a walking stick and shopping trolleys? could you walk round a supermarket un aided?

sleep i guess does play a part in it as our brain needs sleep and body.

otehrwise signals are sent shooting anywhere and everywhere.

i can sleep yet can still be just as tired on good sleep,

i go through phases which are quite long of just been over over tired (not like the average working person who has no medical issues)

so many sites have different opinions i guess which one do you believe hmm xxxxxx

i am good at reading and absorbing yet not explaining, planning and organising anymore.

we want to go right our body goes left lol ohh or the other way haahahah i take it all as it comes and have fun with it unless i make a fool of myself alone that is! eeeek .

cuddles from caroline xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Yes Caroline, i agree with the sleeping issue. I sleep all night most nights, but i still go around in a foggy haze everyday and feel like ive not slept at all. If i get up at 8am, by 10am Im really tired again,cant consentrate and im pretty useless till ive had a nap. And yes there is quite a lot of info around, which could be useful and informative, but as you say, who do you believe? I do believe that balance is, or can be a major Fibro issue. But then its so complex and we all suffer in different ways. Some of the info "fits" and some doesnt. Lets hope "they" can get to the bottom of Fibro for certain one day.


ps yes medication too plays a part in it as adds to symptoms and side affects but what do we want the suffering or side affects taht can be handled.

looking up wooohhh , turn around waayyyyyy, turn the head or down twang twang twang ouch!! balance ohps here we go again.

if i was stopped in my car and asked to walk in a straight line that would be fun! hmm do i really have to smell my breath 1st lol .

i watched a video on cops and one guy had not been drinking the police arrested him on suspicion of drink driving !

he took tests and did the walk and by eck could he not do a straight line at all, it was concluded his medication was to blame, so what happens here do we have to stop driving??

i drive every day and i feel confident as i have to drive!

i WILL NOT get in my vehicle at any time if i feel i am not capable and fear of not being alert.

i think balance goes with how we all can handle it too and what actually causes it.

as you have read and others .. fatigue, illness, medication .. am i making sense lol xxx


Balance problems? me? lets look at the evidence from the budgie, two of his phrases are :-

"I'm up... no I'm not... I'm sat again"

"oops! fallin' over" [he also does my cough, but that's a different story]

he's like a little tape recorder, so if he says it, I said it first!

seriously, I can't remember the last time my balance and walking were ok.

the more tired I am the worse it gets.

I began using my arm crutches to keep my back straight and support, sadly, I need to use shop scooters in supermarkets and now my own scooter to get out and about. [I have written on the positive side of this, but it is sad to reach this point.]



This really interesting. Going right back to the year dot, long before any other symptoms, I have always been clumsy. I used to be so good @ getting things done but in my own fashion. I've always known that I look awkward to other people. I believe the building bricks for many chronic conditions like fm are there at birth, some hereditary some congenital, only to appear in certain circumstances, which starts a chain reaction affecting the immune system.

Governments in this country have a strange attitude with investing in medical research. They will invest,, but are then very reluctant to use the results to help patients. 'NICE' (very appropriate I dont think!) will spend years debating whether to approve a drug for use in NHS, based on whether the cost is worth it! Meanwhile, how many people die prematurely and suffer unnecessarily? How can these people sleep at night?!!


I SOOOO agree Tulips. Everything in this country comes down to money and how much the government can make out of it, for their own greedy gains and it doesnt matter about the people who REALLY keep the country going...US. That STINKS. I dont think any political party is any good for this country. Theyre all just power hungry. They tried to make the NHS a business but that doesnt work because people arent "sick to order".You cant have targets for it. So because the NHS doesnt make money, theyre now trying to dismantle it. But its not THEIRS to dismantle. Ordinary working people pay for it through tax and N.I. I think the USA puts more effort into medical research.


Different culture in the usa. Usual practice is for those who have benefited from their own education ie. made lots $ will endow their own universities, sponsor research etc. This will only benefit their own kind within the usa of course because healthcare provision for the poor over there is a lot worse. However, we get to read their research results, much of which we already know from personal experience which leads us right back to square one!!

Sadly, politics in every country is not about trying to to do what's right for The People, ie. us, no matter what they say. It's all about looking after number 1, and retaining a system that works for them. At election time, we dont get to vote a Government in, we just get to vote one out. WE are 'ruled' by huge egos with no conscience and zero concept of living at the bottom of the pile, and who's sole purpose in life seems to be to grab as much power and £ as they possibly can. I'm not even sure they see the rest of us as human beings. Ticking boxes and trying to fit us all in a box when people dont come box-shaped would otherwise be an obvious pointless exercise!

Happy new year lol!! I think I should put my soap box away. :)


You may also like...