Fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and problems with sleep, memory, and mood. According to research, fibromyalgia alters how your brain and spinal cord process painful and non-painful signals, amplifying painful sensations.
After an incident, such as a physical injury, surgery, infection, or intense psychological stress, symptoms frequently start to appear. In other situations, symptoms develop gradually over time without a single trigger.
Why some people get fibromyalgia is a mystery. Although the precise cause is unknown, several factors are likely involved.
In this article, we will run you through the symptoms of fibromyalgia and the factors that can contribute to this condition.
Indications of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia’s primary symptoms include:
- Fibromyalgia pain is frequently described as a constant dull ache that has lasted at least three months. The pain must be felt on both sides of your body and above and below your waist to be considered widespread.
- People with fibromyalgia frequently wake up tired, despite sleeping for long periods. Pain often disrupts sleep, and many fibromyalgia patients have other sleep disorders, such as restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea.
- The ability to focus, pay attention, and concentrate on mental tasks is impaired by a symptom known as “fibro fog.”
Several factors contribute to fibromyalgia, including the following:
Pain Messages from the Central Nervous System
The central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) sends information throughout the body via a network of specialized cells. Changes in how this system works may explain why fibromyalgia causes chronic pain and extreme sensitivity to it.
Having Hormonal Imbalances
Fibromyalgia patients have abnormally low levels of the hormones serotonin, noradrenaline, and dopamine in their brains. Low levels of these hormones may play a role in developing fibromyalgia because they regulate mood, appetite, sleep, behavior, and stress responses.
According to some researchers, changes in the levels of other hormones, such as cortisol, which is released when the body is stressed, have also been linked to fibromyalgia.
Problems with Sleep
Disrupted sleep patterns may cause fibromyalgia rather than just a symptom. Fibromyalgia can make it difficult to sleep deeply and cause extreme tiredness (fatigue).
People with fibromyalgia who sleep poorly may also have higher pain levels, implying that sleep problems contribute to the other symptoms of the condition.
Family History and Genetics
Genetics may play a minor role in the development of fibromyalgia, with some people being more likely than others to develop the condition due to their genes.
Fibromyalgia is frequently prompted by a stressful event, such as physical or emotional (psychological) stress. Some examples of these stressful events can include the following:
- An accident resulting in injuries
- Viral infections
- Giving birth or undergoing surgery
- Physical or psychological stress
Conditions Associated with Fibromyalgia
Several other conditions are frequently associated with fibromyalgia. In general, these are rheumatic conditions (conditions that affect the joints, muscles, and bones). Here are some examples:
- Osteoarthritis occurs when joint damage causes pain and stiffness.
- Lupus is a condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells and tissues throughout the body.
- Rheumatoid arthritis linked to diet soda is a condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the joints, causing pain and swelling.
- Ankylosing spondylitis is a condition that causes pain and swelling in the spine.
- Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is a condition that causes pain in the jaw, cheeks, ears, and temples.
It would be best to check with a rheumatologist for these conditions, along with fibromyalgia.
While there is no defined cause for fibromyalgia, several known factors and conditions can contribute to it. It helps to seek the help of experts to manage this condition.
Are you looking for a rheumatologist in Princeton, NJ? Center for Arthritis & Osteoporosis has an expert team with the finest diagnostic and treatment procedures. Request an appointment today!