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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    A Jennifer Caudle, DO, Family Medicine, answered
    How is fibromyalgia triggered?

    Fibromyalgia sometimes seems to strike out of nowhere. In this video, family medicine specialist Dr. Jennifer Caudle talks about what researchers believe may trigger this painful disease.


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    A Dawn 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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    A Mehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Researchers don't know why fibromyalgia affects women more often than men. According to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seven times as many women as men are diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Experts do believe that there may be a genetic component and that the condition can sometimes run in families.
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    A Paula Greer, Midwifery Nursing, answered
    Pregnancy is not known to cause fibromyalgia but it is not uncommon for fibromyalgia patients to have more symptoms and flareups during their pregnancy.
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    AMediGuard answered
    It is possible that your pain would become worse or better depending on the changing seasons. Pain associated with fibromyalgia is thought to have stress-related causes in some patients. The changing weather can contribute to the stress level on the body, affecting your pain. It would be good to address this concern with your physician. There are other medications available to treat the pain associated with fibromyalgia. You can also ask your doctor about non-medication therapy - some patients find benefit from water based physical therapy (aqua therapy) and other types of physical therapy. Your physician can review your medical history to see if any could benefit you.
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    Fibromyalgia is generally seen as dysregulation in the brain processing of the chemicals that regulate pain. Researchers have shown abnormal processing pain in several brain regions known to play a role in pain control. These areas have been shown to have excess excitatory nerve chemicals (substance P, glutamate), low levels of inhibitory nerve chemicals, (serotonin and norepinephrine) in descending pathways in the spinal cord.
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