Chronic Pain: Fibromyalgia Causes And Symptoms

Fibromyalgia is a serious syndrome that causes pain, muscle stiffness, and extreme fatigue. Fibromyalgia is one of the most common muscle diseases, and affects 5% of the population. In the United States alone, some six million people, predominately women,  suffer from this chronic condition and they often suffer in silence.

Although common, the cause of this condition is unknown. The person affected doesn't show any signs of tissue inflammations or damage to the internal organs. However, people stricken by the widespread musculoskeletal pain caused by this condition may also experience a number of other symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Read on to find out the common symptoms of fibromyalgia, the possible causes of this disease, and whether you are at a high risk of developing fibromyalgia.

Symptoms Of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia's main symptom is intense musculoskeletal pain which affects the body's ligaments, tendons and muscles. Ligaments and tendons are fibrous connective tissues made up of collagen fibers. Ligaments hold bones together and tendons attach muscles to your bones. Both provide support and strength. Muscles are made up of contractile tissue function to allow you to stretch, flex, and move body parts.

People with fibromyalgia often report aching all over, muscle soreness, stiffness, and twitches. Sometimes fibromyalgia sufferers also report feeling like their muscles are burning. But interestingly enough, fibromyalgia, despite causing pain in patients, does not cause body damage or deformity such as tissue inflammation, which is seen in other rheumatic conditions like in arthritis.

Other Common Symptoms

Some other common symptoms experienced by people with fibromyalgia include:

  • Restless Sleep
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

Causes of Fibromyalgia

The underlying cause of this condition is relatively unknown. But the onset of this condition has been associated with psychological distress, trauma, and infection.

People suffering from fibromyalgia often feel pain as a result of stimuli that are not normally painful. Researchers have uncovered a couple reasons for this. Some findings include the presence of high levels of a nerve chemical signal known as substance P as well as nerve growth factor in the spinal fluid of people who suffer from fibromyalgia.

Researchers have also found that fibromyalgia sufferers have a low level of the neurotransmitter serotonin in their brain. Studies looking at pain in fibromyalgia suggest that the brain (and central nervous system) is supersensitive to stimuli.

In addition, the fatigue experienced by patients may be explained by the finding that fibromyalgia patients don't receive enough non-REM sleep.

Fibromyalgia Affects

The prevalence of fibromyalgia differs in among countries. In the United States, approximately 5% of the population suffers from fibromyalgia. Over 80 percent of fibromyalgia patients are women between 35 and 55 year old. Children, men, and the elderly can also get this condition but it's rare. Fibromyalgia can occur on its own, or with another condition such as rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus.

To find out what treatments are available for fibromyalgia, visit our article Stop the Pain and Fatigue of Fibromyalgia: Fibro Treatments.

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