Fibromyalgia is common in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which causes inflammation (swelling and redness) of the body's joints. This inflammation causes the pain that people with RA experience, but in some cases fibromyalgia may also be a factor. People with both RA and fibromyalgia can be more difficult to treat with anti-inflammatory medicines.
One of the most common risk factors for fibromyalgia is experiencing some type of physical or emotional trauma, and there is some indication that genetic factors also may play a role. Patients with sleep disorders have increased risk, and poor sleep habits are related to fibromyalgia flares.
1 AnswerMental trauma is thought to cause fibromyalgia in some people. People who have been exposed to sexual abuse, physical abuse or physical assault can be at risk for fibromyalgia. Experts believe that acute traumatic experiences change the chemistry and the makeup of the brain. Such events takes the brakes off the painkilling abilities of the brain, and you start to hurt.
1 AnswerFibromyalgia (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.
1 AnswerThe 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.
3 AnswersA number of things are believed to trigger fibromyalgia symptoms, but doctors don't know exactly how. Experts think there is a possible link between the body’s immune system, endocrine system and neurological system.
Some things that could trigger fibromyalgia are:
- certain infections
- trauma, including physical assault
- sexual abuse
- sleep disorders
- pain from another cause
Scientists think your genes may also play a role in fibromyalgia, but studies are still in the early phase. It's difficult to separate out environmental triggers and genes, because a lot of times when people from the same family have fibromyalgia, they've been exposed to the same things. For example, if somebody grows up in a poor neighborhood where there's more violence and more stress, you may see more fibromyalgia in the family. But that doesn't necessarily mean that everybody in the family has the gene for fibromyalgia.
1 AnswerDr. Dawn Marcus , Neurology, answeredA 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.
Find out more about this book:The Woman's Fibromyalgia Toolkit: Manage Your Symptoms and Take Control of Your Life
2 AnswersThe 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.
2 AnswersFor 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.
2 AnswersWomen 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.