Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition which causes widespread pain in soft tissues such as ligaments, tendons, and muscles and is more common in women than men. Symptoms of Fibromyalgia are largely subjective because they come in many shapes and sizes. As a result, it is often confused with other conditions.
The continual pain and fatigue caused by Fibromyalgia often cause a decrease in a person's ability to function, and therefore, may lead to other conditions such as depression. Thankfully research has shown that Fibromyalgia is not progressive or physically crippling, nor does it decrease a person's life span. Unfortunately, the exact cause of Fibromyalgia is still unknown.
Some have speculated that lower levels of the brain neurotransmitter, serotonin, which is associated with calming and anxiety reduction, leads to increased sensitivity to pain. Others believe lowered pain thresholds in people with Fibromyalgia are caused by the reduced effectiveness of the body's natural endorphin painkillers and the increased presence of a chemical called "substance P," which amplifies pain signals. Some studies have linked Fibromyalgia to sudden trauma to the brain and spinal cord.
Another theory states that Fibromyalgia is caused by biochemical changes in the body and may be related to hormonal changes or menopause. In addition, some (but not all) people with Fibromyalgia have low levels of human growth hormone, which may contribute to the muscle pain.
Some researchers theorize that stress or poor physical conditioning are factors in the cause of Fibromyalgia. Another theory suggests that slight muscle damage may lead to an ongoing cycle of pain and fatigue. This mechanism, like all the others, is still unproven.
Treatments for Fibromyalgia: