Fibromyalgia is an oft misdiagnosed and generally misunderstood ailment which has a rather diverse set of symptoms, none of which are particularly pleasant. During my research period in preparation for this article I noticed a great deal of inconsistencies regarding the purported “facts” regarding the causes, symptoms and statistics of this syndrome/disease/disorder. Let’s see if we can’t separate opinion and agenda from actual fact.
Theories on Causes
First and foremost no one really knows what causes it. There are numerous studies underway by reputable medical organisations (such as the Nation Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases - NIAMS) which are geared towards establishing, once and for all, the scientific route cause of Fibromyalgia. Numbered amongst the current scientific theories is the inherent genetic factor, but even in this it appears that geneticists are unclear as to which genes may be responsible. It is clear though that just because one of your parents has it, it doesn’t mean that you’ll be on the receiving end later.
Stress is another favourite factor to include on the “rap sheet” when you’re not sure what the cause is, but it could be a factor, if not the primary cause. Other hypothesizes include:
Hypodopaminergia - Which in short means you’re having trouble with your pain receptors.
Abnormal serotonin metabolism – Which means that your serotonin production or control is hampered somehow (Serotonin is a great thing. It makes you happy and also helps with controlling sleep, concentration and pain levels).
Psychological Status – Like stress, depression has a debilitating effect on the human immune system but it seems more logical that both stress and depression are natural symptoms of Fibromyalgia, rather than causes. After all, being in constant pain would make most people rather unhappy so let’s not waste time getting overly technical as too many sources do.
Physical trauma – Here we may be onto something which actually contributes to cause rather than effect. It seems to be generally agreed upon that physical injury (especially to the neck) has been a stable precursor to developing Fibromyalgia. I’m not going to try and quote percentages since, once again, sources differ too widely to be accurate. It does, however, make more sense that if a subject was inclined to (or was already) developing the syndrome, the impact would hasten this.
To mention it once more though, no one yet knows what the actual cause is and it’s entirely possible that a combination of these and other factors are responsible, rather than simply one or two of them.
Most people who read an article on this subject are already aware of the symptoms, because they or a loved one are a sufferer, but let’s go through some of them anyway. Unfortunately the two sensations most related to Fibromyalgia are pain and fatigue. Other indicators may include muscle spasms, weakness, muscle twitches, palpitations, cognitive fogs, joint aches (very much like arthritis), bowel issues and chronic sleep difficulties.
It sounds bad, and it is, but the good news is that if the cause isn’t yet curable then the symptoms are at least treatable. There are many homeopathic and chemical options for fatigue treatment as well as ranges for healthy pain medication. There are vitamin supplements and professional physical therapy classes (avoid chiropractors for now, until the syndrome is better understood) that, combined with the right medication, will give you back some quality of life again.
First and foremost if you’re exhibiting several of these symptoms then see you doctor and let him or her know of your suspicions. And if it turns out that you have developed the syndrome then remember that it’s not the end of your world, just the start of wiser management of it and everyday the experts are getting that much closer to a complete solution for Fibromyalgia.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Posted by N.J at 4:21 AM
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