Can stress cause fibromyalgia?

This is still debatable. There is no question that there is a strong association between stress and fibromyalgia. The question at the root of the fibromyalgia debate is whether this disease is secondary to psychological stress, or caused by an organic syndrome. Most do believe that stress can cause fibromyalgia; however, it remains a "which came first" question. Chronic stress can cause changes in various hormones and neurotransmitters that can cause pain and fatigue (symptoms of fibromyalgia); however, the pain from this disease can also cause psychological stress.
It is not clear why stress may trigger fibromyalgia
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Some researchers believe that fibromyalgia is linked to emotional stress, yet there is no conclusive evidence that this theory is true. Still, stress can wear you down, zapping your energy and strength and making it difficult to get through each day. The chronic pain of fibromyalgia is a major stressor. The ongoing deep muscle pain can cause you to be inactive and to feel isolated as you are no longer able to be as productive at home or at work. Over time, the stress of living with fibromyalgia can lead to anxiety and depression.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

No one knows exactly what causes fibromyalgia, but stress can certainly contribute. Think of stress as a thick smoke that seeps into every crevice of your health. Stress causes changes in brain chemicals, and these are actually pretty similar to the changes we see in people with fibro. The combo of stress and fibro is a powerful one, and not in a good way. Learning ways to manage stress is a key part of your personal path to coping with fibromyalgia.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.