Do you or someone you know suffer from fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia can be a devastating condition because of the amount of pain that occurs on a daily basis and how the pain and other discomforts of the condition can affect the person on a daily basis at work and at home.
Those of us who have not been diagnosed but know of someone, perhaps even a family member may wonder what the causes or risk factors are for fibromyalgia.
To understand the condition you first have to realize that there are two types of fibromyalgia: Primary and Secondary FMS. Primary FMS is the most common of the two and is also sometimes referred to as "idopathic" FMS because it has an unknown origin.
Secondary FMS can occur along with another medical issue or can occur after a physical injury especially if the injury is in the neck region, after having surgery or from an arthritis that affects the spine called ankylosing spondylitis.
It can also be linked to Lyme disease, hepatitis C, or endometriosis.
It is suspected that primary FMS is caused by chronic sleep disturbance, or abnormalities in the brain chemical or in the level of hormones in the body, psychological or social effects, muscle abnormalities or quite possibly disturbances in nitric oxide levels.
Individuals diagnosed with fibromyalgia usually have higher than normal occurrences of restless leg syndrome, or periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) and sleep-related breathing disorders all of which can contribute to chronic sleep disturbance.
Some researchers believe that those who have primary FMS may have an imbalance in any of the brain chemicals: serotonin, melatonin, or in stress hormones are low, or IGF-1 growth hormone levels are low.
Researchers also believe that the individual diagnosed with fibromyalgia may have an abnormal pain perception at higher than normal levels.
Studies show that those who are diagnosed with primary FMS usually have had some exposure to severe emotional or physical abuse, or suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, or chronic stress.
Studies have also shown that another common trait in those who have FMS is that they usually have some kind of muscle abnormality such as low levels of muscle-cell chemicals which makes it difficult for muscles to relax, so they ultimately stay contracted.
They may also have structural or blood flow issues due to thick capillaries (those are the tiny blood vessels) resulting in the fact that your muscles do not get enough oxygen-rich blood which would mean that your muscles do not have what they need to function correctly.
Ironically the chronic pain and stress a person is under because of the condition of fibromyalgia results in more harm to the muscles, which further impedes muscle function compounding creating a vicious cycle.
Those individuals at risk for fibromyalgia include women (although men can get it too up to 90% are women), individuals between the ages of 20 and 55, having other close family members with the condition, having a sleep disorder, and those dealing with a lot of stress. Individuals who already have ankylosing spondylitis, lupus or osteoarthritis are also at high risk for fibromyalgia.