- What causes fibromyalgia?
- What are fibromyalgia trigger points?
- How does fibromyalgia affect the body? (Signs and Symptoms)
- Fibromyalgia Complications and Risk Factors
- Diagnosing fibromyalgia
- Fibromyalgia Treatment and Medication
- Living with fibromyalgia
- Fibromyalgia misconceptions
- Your fibromyalgia questions answered
What causes fibromyalgia?
Research into the cause of this disorder has spanned decades, and many now believe they are close to understanding how and why this condition occurs. Factors that are believed to contribute to its cause include:
- Stress: The effects of prolonged stress (from as little as several months to many years) and its relationship to hormonal disturbances in the body is being extensively researched as a possible link to the development of fibromyalgia.
- Trauma: Trauma of a physical or emotional nature has been noted as a possible trigger or cause link in those who have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
- Infections: It has been noted that prior infections and infectious conditions could possibly trigger or worsen symptoms of fibromyalgia.
- Genetics: Risk of developing this condition appears to be higher if someone in your family has similar symptoms or has been diagnosed with the condition. Researchers are looking into how genetic mutations may play a role in how this condition occurs, but are still uncertain as to which genes could cause the disorder.
In general, the underlying cause of the disorder is, and always has been, a complex issue, that has many in the medical field scratching their heads over a variety of proposed theories. Some suggest that it must be that the brain somehow lowers a person’s pain threshold at some point, making something that once wasn’t an issue, a painful experience at another time.
Other theories delve into nerves and receptors in the body and argue that these become repetitively more sensitive to stimulation (i.e. pain signals ‘overreact’ and exaggerate sensations of pain in the body). The thinking is that repetitive stimulation somehow alters the brain and results in an abnormal increase in levels of neurotransmitters (chemicals in the brain which signal or alert the body to pain). The receptors, are then thought to ‘memorise’ this pain being signalled and become increasingly sensitive, and thus overact when the sensation arises again.