The Causes, Signs and Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia, commonly referred to as FMS or FM, is a medical disorder that is characterized by allodynia and chronic widespread pain. Allodynia is a painful and heightened response to pressure. Understanding the causes of the condition will help you determine if you are at risk and knowing the signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia will lead to early detection.

One of the major causes of fibromyalgia is stress-related disorders. Disorders like posttraumatic stress disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression and irritable bowel syndrome increase the risk of the disorder. You are at a greater risk if you were physically or sexually abused as a childhood or as an adult. You are at a greater risk if somebody in your family had the disorder. It is believed that polygenic is the mode of inheritance of the disorder. Other common causes are dopamine dysfunction (or hypodopaminergia), psychological factors, physical trauma, poor sleep, abnormal serotonin metabolism and deficient secretion of the growth hormone. Yet others are adenosine monophosphate deaminase deficiency type 1, aberrant immune response to intestinal bacteria and neuro-immunoendocrine disorder.

Chronic pain is one of the major symptoms of fibromyalgia. You will feel intense pain throughout the body, with the neck and the back feeling the most point. This pain is usually sharp and stabbing. Some patients get burning sensations while others get aches. Fibromyalgia is characterized by increased sensitivity to pain. This is believed to be as a result of an imbalance in the central nervous system pain pathways and the brain. You will feel an amplified/intensified pain.

Stiffness is another of the common symptoms of fibromyalgia. You will have severe stiffness in the joints, especially if you remain in one position for prolonged periods. Stiffness is particularly common in the morning. The condition also leads to muscle spasms. These spasms are usually tight and painful and they can affect your sleep patterns.

Another symptom is extreme tiredness/fatigue. You will feel exhausted even when you have not worked. The fatigue can range from severe to mild, depending on the individual and the progression of the condition. Severe fatigue prevents you from performing such activities as breathing and eating.

Fibromyalgia leads to poor quality of sleep since you will have chronic pain and fatigue even as you sleep. This is called ‘non restorative sleep’. You are likely to develop Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and to get frequent, extreme headaches that range from mild to extremely severe migraines.

Other common symptoms of fibromyalgia are the tingling of the skin, weakness in the limbs, muscle twitching, nerve pain, palpitations, functional bowel disturbances, cognitive dysfunction (or fibrofog) which is often characterized by impaired concentration, short-term memory consolidation and problems with short-term and long-term memory. Others are impaired performance speed, cognitive overload, inability to multi-task, diminished attention span and depressive and anxiety symptoms.

It is important that you know the signs & symptoms of fibromyalgia since early detection will lead to better management and/or the taking of preventative measures. For more information, visit!


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