What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a condition that is marked by general joint and muscle pain and fatigue. It is not uncommon for fibromyalgia to be accompanied by a set of symptoms, also known as fibromyalgia syndrome. When this occurs, it often signals the onset of a particular disease or a greater risk of developing the disease.Common Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia exhibits a vast array of symptoms which resembles that of some other disorders, including osteoarthritis, tendonitis, hyperthyroidism, and bursitis, which often results in misdiagnosis. However, the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia are musculoskeletal pain and chronic fatigue. Some other common symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
Common Causes of Fibromyalgia
- Sleep and mood disturbances or depression
- Aches and pain in the joints and neck
- Leg cramps and other cramping
- Brain fog
- Abdominal pain
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Dizziness and balance problems
- Tingling or numbness in the feet, hands, and
- Hypersensitivity to heat or cold
- Widespread pain
- Tender points or decreased pain threshold
- Impairing fatigue
- Anxiety or depression
Though the exact cause of fibromyalgia remains unclear, researchers seem to concur that certain factors may increase the risk of developing the condition. The lowered pain threshold observed in fibromyalgia sufferers is often linked to lower levels of serotonin. Serotonin is a brain neurotransmitter that produces a calming reaction. Lower levels of serotonin lead to a lower pain threshold or increased sensitivity to pain. Another consensus is that poor physical condition or stress can increase your risk of developing fibromyalgia because it can lead to muscle strain and fatigue. Slight muscle trauma may also increase your risk of developing fibromyalgia because it leads to ongoing muscle pain and fatigue.
Biochemical changes in the body may also increase the risk of developing fibromyalgia because it spurs hormonal variations in the body. Likewise, lower levels of human growth hormone may also cause muscle pain. Disordered sleep, or sleep that is light and not refreshing, may also increase the risk of developing muscle or joint pain because it lowers serotonin levels. Certain diseases, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis
, spinal arthritis, autoimmune disease
, and lupus may also increase your risk of developing muscle and joint pain or make fibromyalgia symptoms worse.
Heredity may also increase your risk of developing fibromyalgia. It is suggested that people with fibromyalgia may have genes or a gene that causes them to be oversensitive to stimuli. In fact, studies show that several genes have been found to occur more often in individuals with fibromyalgia. It is also believed that when a person with a genetic tendency is exposed to certain physical or emotional stressors, such as an acute illness or traumatic events, there is a change in the body's response to stress, which can cause a higher sensitivity in the body to pain.