What causes fibromyalgia? Genetics, gender, and inactivity, among others, have a strong association with this condition, but experts have yet to pinpoint its exact cause. Treatment of fibromyalgia is likewise unknown, although there are more treatment options available to patients now. Read on to learn what causes fibromyalgia or, at least, the risk factors connected to this chronic pain.
What Causes Fibromyalgia? 7 Factors and Health Conditions to Look At
Fibromyalgia tends to run in families. In fact, studies show that heritability accounts for 50% of chronic pain development. This leads to experts suggesting that genetic factors can explain why chronic pain occurs.
2. Autoimmune Diseases
Fibromyalgia is often linked to autoimmune diseases, with some experts saying the former may be a form of the latter. Autoimmune conditions occur when the immune system attacks your own body tissues, leading to diseases like lupus. People with fibromyalgia are more likely to suffer from the same conditions as those with autoimmune diseases.
3. Emotional or Physical Abuse
Studies have associated emotional or physical abuse with fibromyalgia. They suggest that children who are abused are more likely to suffer from the condition when they grow up, which may be an effect of how the brain consequently handles stress and pain.
4. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been strongly associated with chronic pain. In fact, in a study conducted regarding this association, about 66% of patients suffering from chronic pain had PTSD or traumatic life events prior to the onset of fibromyalgia symptoms. Generally, patients with PTSD appear to have poorer clinical results overall, with fibromyalgia as one of its effects.
Gender differences have been reported in various syndromes, including fibromyalgia, migraine, and chronic fatigue. Fibromyalgia, alone, occurs mostly among women and only about 10% of reported patients are men. There are no concrete answers yet as to why there are such differences, but inferences point to the interaction among biology, psychology, and other socio-cultural factors.
6. Anxiety and Depression
Fibromyalgia not only affects people physically but also mentally and emotionally. In fact, one in five patients who suffer from this chronic pain also reportedly suffers from anxiety and depression. Research suggests that chronic pain follows anxiety and depression due to the abnormalities in the sympathetic nervous system, which cause the release of substances resulting in more sensitivity to pain.
Experts have found that serotonin levels in the brain affect the occurrence of fibromyalgia. It, likewise, plays a vital role in mediating moods. A stable serotonin level leads to a positive mood, while low serotonin level leads to the opposite. Inactivity comes into play in terms of aggravating low serotonin levels, which consequently creates stress, aggression, and chronic pain.
Nucleus Medical Media shares a short clip explaining the symptoms and medical diagnosis of fibromyalgia:
What causes fibromyalgia and its cure is still disputable but medications, fibromyalgia exercise treatment, and behavioral therapy can help alleviate the symptoms. As there are no hard and fast rules yet when it comes to its treatment, it is necessary for patients suffering from this chronic pain to consult with their doctors to come up with the best treatment plan for them.
Are you suffering from fibromyalgia? How has it affected the quality of your life? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below.
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