What are the 5 Causes of Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder that causes widespread muscle pain, general fatigue, and sleep problems. More than 10 million Americans suffer from the condition, and it can be difficult to get a handle on because of the lack of understanding about how it works. You can best educate yourself on the basics of fibromyalgia and how it affects your body. Here’s what you need to know.

Targets, Triggers, and Symptoms

Fibromyalgia causes chronic pain. The most common symptoms are muscle pain, fatigue, and sleep disturbance. Additionally, people with fibromyalgia often report experiencing headaches, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), depression, anxiety, cognitive impairment (problems with memory and concentration), and numbness.

Fibromyalgia is an oft-misunderstood condition. Because of this misunderstanding, many people who suffer from fibromyalgia have been told that their symptoms are all in their head or that they’re making it up for attention or disability benefits. The reality of the situation is that this disorder does indeed exist. It’s caused by an overactive central nervous system (CNS). This means that your brain is sending out signals to your muscles and other soft tissues in your body more frequently.

Causes of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a general term for the condition that causes widespread muscle and joint pain, and it’s characterized by trigger points, which are tender spots in the muscles. While there’s no clear cause of fibromyalgia, there are many potential causes.

Fibromyalgia is a common, long-term disorder characterized by widespread muscle pain and fatigue. The causes of fibromyalgia are still a bit of a mystery to researchers, but it’s thought that the syndrome may be caused by a combination of genetic predisposition, trauma, stress, and chemical or biological imbalances within the body. Fibromyalgia usually affects people between the ages of 30 and 50, with women being more likely than men to develop it.

1.      Genetic Predisposition

Some people are more likely than others to get fibromyalgia. If you have a close relative who has fibromyalgia, you may be at greater risk for developing the syndrome yourself.

Fibromyalgia often runs in families. Research has found that those who have a first-degree relative, such as a parent or sibling with the condition, have approximately twice the risk of developing fibromyalgia. This suggests that there is an inherited aspect to fibromyalgia. Studies also show a correlation between specific genetic variations and the development of fibromyalgia. Abnormalities in the brainstem and hypothalamus—regions of the brain responsible for regulating body temperature, sleep cycles, and other basic functions—have been observed in people with fibromyalgia and may play a role in causing or worsening symptoms.

2.      Trauma

Physical trauma can trigger the development of fibromyalgia. Such trauma may include car accidents, falls, and sports injuries. Trauma doesn’t have to involve physical injuries—it can also be emotional or psychological in nature. For example, fibromyalgia has been found to occur more frequently among people who have experienced sexual abuse. If you’ve had an injury or some other major trauma in your life that you find stressful or upsetting now, it’s possible that you could develop fibromyalgia later on as a result of it.

3.      Infections

Another cause is infections. When we say infections, we mean specifically viral or bacterial infections like Lyme disease, hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), herpes simplex 1 (HSV1), and human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1). These infections seem to have an impact on the immune system that can increase your risk of developing fibromyalgia later on. That said, these are just possibilities—the connection hasn’t been conclusively proven yet.

4.      Prolonged state of stress

Stress has been shown to alter the immune system, which can cause the body to become hypersensitive and trigger an autoimmune response in which your body mistakenly perceives its own tissues as foreign invaders. Stress has also been shown to trigger muscular tension, causing pain throughout the body and leading to more stress in a vicious cycle.

Training your mind through stress reduction techniques such as meditation or yoga can help you break this cycle.

5.      Neurochemicals

There has been research suggesting that individuals with fibromyalgia may be lacking certain neurochemicals, including serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. These chemicals appear to be related to sleep disorders and other problems related to diseases like fibromyalgia.


There are many medications that can be used to treat fibromyalgia including antidepressant and anti-seizure medications like gabapentin or pregabalin. Other medications include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that you can find at at fair prices.


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