Health + Wellness

What Causes Fibromyalgia? –


A definitive cause of fibromyalgia has yet to be identified (FM). Typically, people think it has something to do with alterations in how the brain interprets pain signals, which might be caused by abnormal amounts of certain chemicals in the brain. Some believe it may also have a hereditary component. Infection, stress, or trauma (either physical or mental) may potentially set off FM symptoms.

What Are The First Signs Of Fibromyalgia?

People with FM may experience:

  • Widespread pain
  • Muscle and/or joint stiffness
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Difficulty carrying out normal daily activities
  • Sleep problems
  • Difficulties with thinking, concentration, and memory (sometimes known as fibro-fog)
  • Headaches and/or migraines
  • Digestive problems
  • Tingling, numbness, or “crawling” sensations in hands, feet, arms, and/or legs
  • Pain in the face or jaw
  • Less exercise endurance
  • Restless legs
  • Painful menstrual periods

Do Abnormal Pain Messages Cause Fibromyalgia?

The CNS comprises the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. Specialized cells in the central nervous system relay information, including pain signals, to every part of the body.

Research suggests that those with FM may have a distinct way of processing pain compared to those without the disorder. An increase in pain sensitivity and intensity of response may be associated with decreased levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin or norepinephrine. The pain associated with fibromyalgia is alleviated by drugs that increase the release of serotonin, such as duloxetine and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Researchers have discovered alterations in brain activity and connectivity between several brain regions in patients with FM and similar chronic pain conditions who have undergone brain imaging. Researchers have found that FM patients may experience pain while healthy controls do not, according to imaging examinations of the brain.

People with FM also tend to have other anomalies, including altered activity of endogenous cerebral opioids, dysregulation of dopamine, and higher levels of excitatory neurotransmitters like glutamate and substance P. (chemicals in the brain that help control pain). Everyone agrees that FM patients perceive pain differently, but no one has yet figured out why.

RELATED: Fibromyalgia: What You Need To Know

Do Genetic Mutations Cause Fibromyalgia?

Although a precise inheritance pattern has not been identified, FM seems to run in families.

Does Family History Of FM Increase Your Risk Of Getting FM?

If you have a parent or sibling with FM, your chance of having FM is around eight times greater than the general population.

There seems to be an increased prevalence of several chronic pain problems in the families of FM patients, including

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