Causes of Fibromyalgia

The exact causes of fibromyalgia are yet unknown, but it's thought to be related a combination of physical, neurological and psychological factor and also possibly to abnormal levels of certain chemicals in the brain and changes in the way the central nervous system  processes pain messages carried throughout the body.  It's also been suggested that fibromyalgia is hereditary.

In many cases, the condition appears to be triggered by a physically or emotionally stressful event, such as an injury or infection, giving birth, having an operation, the breakdown of a relationship, the death of a loved one, or being physically abused (leading to PTSD). This is because your feelings can affect the pain you feel, and depression or anxiety further compound it.  Causes of fibromyalgia include:

  • Chemical Imbalances - One of the possible causes of fibromyalgia is how the body processes pain. Different suffers process pain differently, as their levels of substance P, a chemical found in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and is responsible for transmitting pain impulses to the brain, are significantly elevated — more than three times compared to people without fibromyalgia.  Having higher levels of substance P means pain is felt more intensely. There is scientific evidence that having low levels of the hormones norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine in the brain is common among fibromyalgia sufferers.  These hormones are indispensable in regulating mood, appetite, sleep, behaviour, and stress response. Changes in the levels of stress hormones such as cortisol may also contribute to fibromyalgia.

  • Genetics - A combination of hereditary genetic mutations may be partly responsible for developing fibromyalgia, which is why people who have a close relative (a sibling or a parent) who had this illness are at a higher risk group.

  • Sleep Problems - Having an irregular sleep patterns or lacking deep sleep, may be a cause of fibromyalgia, and not just a symptom. It is in stage 3 sleep when the body refreshes itself, allowing the muscles to recover from the day’s activity. According to studies, people with fibromyalgia become more aroused when they enter this stage of sleep, which brings about a lighter form of sleep. Research shows that when people without fibromyalgia were stopped from entering stage 3 sleep, symptoms similar to fibromyalgia manifested.

  • Health Ailments - Painful rheumatic conditions that affect the muscles, joints, or bones can also increase the risk of getting fibromyalgia. These include:

    • Rheumatoid arthritis

    • Osteoarthritis

    • Lupus

    • Ankylosing spondylitis

    • Temporomandibular disorder (TMD)

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