Fibromyalgia Causes

Fibromyalgia Causes

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    Fibromyalgia (FM) often occurs following a physical trauma (especially involving the trunk), an acute illness (i.e. hepatitis C, Epstein-Barr virus, Lyme disease) or injury, which may act as a “trigger” in the development of the disorder. Other triggers include psychological stressors such as early life trauma and deployment to war.

    Increasing attention is being devoted to the central nervous system as the underlying mechanism of FM. Studies have suggested that people with FM have generalized disturbance in pain processing and an amplified response to stimuli that would not ordinarily be painful in healthy individuals.
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    The diagnosis of fibromyalgia is usually made between the ages of 20 to 50 years. However, this incidence rises with age so that by age 80, approximately 8% of adults meet the American College of Rheumatology classification of fibromyalgia. It is imperative for older people to know that aging does not necessarily mean living with more pain. People who are in pain, regardless of their age, should be seen and treated appropriately by caring doctors.
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    ARealAge answered
    Excessive stress can trigger or exacerbate fibromyalgia fatigue. Some research suggests that the onset of fibromyalgia could be triggered by a severely stressful event, such as a divorce, a job loss or the death of a loved one.
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    ADawn Marcus, Neurology, answered
    A survey of 100 women with fibromyalgia found that the average woman started experiencing fibromyalgia symptoms at age 46, and menopause had already occurred before fibromyalgia started in two of three women. (In Westernized cultures, menopause is generally expected to occur around age 51.) Although doctors don't know why, studies consistently show that menopause tends to occur nearly 10 years earlier than average in women with fibromyalgia -- around age 42.
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    The exact causes of fibromyalgia are not known. It's likely that genes predispose certain people to fibromyalgia, but that something in the person's environment sets it off. One such possible trigger is an injury or illness. A physical trauma, such as a car accident or other bodily injury, may change the way that your brain perceives pain. This change could result in increased sensitivity to pain signals.

    If you suffered from an injury or an acute infection or illness and find you have greater sensitivity to pain now, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about your symptoms. The first step toward relief is an accurate diagnosis.
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    For many people, physical or emotional trauma may act as a trigger for fibromyalgia, a chronic (ongoing) pain condition.

    Studies have found high rates of physical or sexual abuse during childhood among adults who have fibromyalgia. Car accidents, post-traumatic stress disorder, repetitive injuries, viral illnesses and certain diseases have also been associated with the onset of fibromyalgia. Such stressors may change the way the nervous system sends and receives pain signals, so that someone with fibromyalgia may feel pain from something that wouldn't bother someone who didn't have fibromyalgia. More research is needed to understand the role that trauma may play in bringing on fibromyalgia.
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    ACeleste Cooper, Rheumatology, answered

    "Often identified as triggers are virus, trauma (accidental or surgical), chemical exposure, abuse (emotional or physical), a prior debilitating illness, or any of these in combination."  (Cooper and Miller, 2010 pg 7)

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    Women account for the vast majority of fibromyalgia cases, but no one is certain why because the exact cause of fibromyalgia is still unknown. Some researchers believe that many more men have fibromyalgia than are diagnosed. They believe that some men suffer the symptoms of fibromyalgia but do not seek medical care.

    Also, women may have more symptoms of fibromyalgia than men, such as pelvic pain, painful periods or painful intercourse.

    It is important to understand that significant progress is being made in the diagnosis and treatment of fibromyalgia. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider if you have questions or concerns about this condition.
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    AHoward S. Smith, Pain Medicine, answered
    There is some evidence that fibromyalgia patients may feel less pain if they eliminate monosodium glutamate (MSG) and aspartame, which are found in many processed foods. Both additives may also be associated with migraine headache and other chronic pain ailments. You should be aware of some processed foods that contain these ingredients, even though they may be listed under other names: autolyzed yeast, calcium caseinate, gelatin, glutamate, glutamic acid, hydrolyzed protein, monopotassium glutamate, monosodium glutamate, sodium caseinate, textured protein, yeast extract, yeast food, or yeast nutrient.
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    ACeleste Cooper, Rheumatology, answered

    Most of what I have to say about pregnancy and fibromyalgia is from a personal view and anecdotal one.

    I did have very difficult pregnancies with severe prolonged morning sickness. However, I doubt that pregnancy was the cause of my FM, I suspect the FM was why I had difficult pregnancies, as I had the comorbid conditions then, Raynaud’s, IBS, migraine, frequent UTI’s, etc.

    I have heard others say they had great difficulty and needed some assistance after the birth, because lifting caused great pain. I believe that since we now know myofascial trigger points play a role in peripheral mediated pain in FM, that it is important for you to identify any now and treat them.

    I had difficulty with my left hip going out with pregnancy, and I suspect it was related to trigger points in the area that were aggravated by the weight of the baby. Knowing these things might help you avoid some of these experiences.  

    So my answer is we suspect that physical or emotional trauma is a trigger to FM, and pregnancy definitely puts a strain on the physical. It could be a trigger, though not a cause, men have FM too.  

    Here are two links you might find helpful, one from a scientific aspect, the other from a social one.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21284491

    http://fibromyagiablog.blogspot.com/

    All blogs, posts and answers are based on the work in Integrative Therapies for Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Myofascial Pain: The Mind-Body Connection by Celeste Cooper, RN, and Jeff Miller, PhD. 2010, Vermont: Healing Arts press

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