If you have fibromyalgia, you know what pain is like throughout the body. It causes a variety of symptoms, including sleep issues and fatigue. Those who suffer from this condition feel pain more acutely than the general population.
One of the most frequent types of chronic pain is fibromyalgia. The National Fibromyalgia Association estimates that 10% of the U.S. population has fibromyalgia (NFA).
We don't know a whole lot about what triggers fibromyalgia yet. However, there is evidence from studies that suggest multiple possible causes. Factors that have been shown to increase an individual's chance of developing the illness are also included in this article.
Is Fibromyalgia Genetic?
Although there is no clear genetic link between parents and offspring with fibromyalgia, the condition does seem to run in families. The risk of getting fibromyalgia is increased by five in families where someone else already suffers from the condition compared to families where no one suffers.
Genetic analysis of relatives of persons with fibromyalgia and other chronic pain syndromes has shown several genes that may contribute to the hereditary nature of these conditions. You can partially attribute your body's reaction to pain to each of these genes. Certain antidepressant drugs may help lessen fibromyalgia symptoms because they target the same genes linked to sadness and anxiety.
Fibromyalgia symptoms can include a wide range of physical and emotional challenges. Some of the most prominent symptoms include:
- Aching all around, especially in the joints, and significantly above and below the waist exhaustion
- Memory and concentration issues, also known as "fibro fog,"
- Trouble sleeping and headaches
- Problems with the jaw, including pain or clicking
- Emotional lows and nervousness
- The onset of diarrhea and subsequent stomach cramps
- Menstruation pains
- Abnormal sensations in the extremities, such as numbness or tingling
- A high level of sensitivity to environmental stimuli, such as noise, light, or temperature (hot or cold)
Causes of Fibromyalgia
No one knows for sure what triggers fibromyalgia; however, these are some possible contributors:
- Abnormal pain signaling
Individuals with fibromyalgia may have abnormalities in how their nerve systems process pain signals. Increased pain sensitivity may result from abnormalities due to abnormal levels of chemicals in the brain, spinal cord, and nerves that transmit these signals.
- Inadequate hormone balance
Dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine (sometimes known as adrenaline) are hormones that help the body process pain. The disruption of pain signals and increased sensitivity to pain may result from lower-than-normal amounts of these hormones in the brain and nervous system.
Cytokines like interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-8 are released by immune cells and regulate the body's immunological response. It has been discovered that fibromyalgia is linked to certain chemicals that function in inflammation.
Fibromyalgia has been shown to have a genetic component. Some people's susceptibility to the ailment is almost certainly due to an underlying genetic defect that has yet to be discovered. Some genes may dictate how the body handles pain.
Researchers believe that those with fibromyalgia have a gene or genes that allow them to have a heightened response to stimuli that would not be painful to someone else.
The onset of symptoms often follows some stress, injury, or infection. These are not likely to be the sole causes of fibromyalgia. However, modifying the neurological system's sensitivity to pain may precipitate the onset in those predisposed to developing the condition.
Possible additional causes of fibromyalgia include:
- Influenza and other viral diseases
- Trauma from multiple sources, including but not limited to relationship breakdown, death of a loved one, or even childbirth
- Sleep disturbances
Sufferers with this condition sometimes have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the deepest hours of the night. However, it's unclear if this is a symptom or a cause of fibromyalgia. Some substances in the brain can be affected by irregular sleep schedules.
- Sleep disorders
Those with fibromyalgia often report disrupted sleep; however, it is unclear whether this is a symptom or a cause of the condition. Sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome (RLS) are two sleep disorders associated with an increased risk of restless legs syndrome (RLS).
- Other rheumatic diseases
Joints, muscles, and bones are all impacted by rheumatic disorders. Fibromyalgia is more common in people who have already been diagnosed with another rheumatic condition. In this category of illnesses, we find:
- Arthritis, Rheumatoid (RA)
- Osteoarthritis (OA)
- Ankylosing Spondylitis
Fibromyalgia and mental health issues go hand in hand. Fibromyalgia is associated with chemical abnormalities, like those that cause sadness and anxiety. Living with chronic pain can be pretty taxing, leading to depression. Depression, likewise, has been shown to heighten sensitivity to pain. The lack of exercise, excessive exercise and surgical procedures are all other potential risk factors for fibromyalgia.
Many people live with fibromyalgia for the rest of their lives. There is no difference between men and women in this regard.
The good news is that it's not a degenerative illness and has no apparent physical effects. The joint damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis (RA) cannot be attributed to this condition. To add, fibromyalgia can't cause death.
Millions of women have fibromyalgia, yet this doesn't help their agony. Follow your doctor's advice and visit your rheumatologist if your treatment isn't helping.