Skip to main content

Fibromyalgia Week: Day 3

Today, I am sharing some thoughts about what causes fibromyalgia.  Current understanding of this debilitating disorder suggests that central pain processing in fibromyalgia patients is altered.  Somehow, the central nervous system (CNS)  has some faulty wiring problems, resulting in an amplified physical pain. In the adult population, it seems that more women are affected by fibromyalgia than are men.  In children and adolescents the gender ratio is 1:1.

There are a few theories out there as to the root cause of fibromyalgia.  Some ideas:

1)Genetic Basis--it seems that fibromyalgia "runs in families", suggesting that there is a specific gene  that may be involved in the perception of pain.

2)Biochemical Imbalances--Some findings in fibromyalgia show that these patients have very low levels of serotonin,which has been linked to problems with sleep,pain perception,headaches, and mood disorders. Other studies have shown that people with fibromyalgia have elevated levels of substance P in their cerebrospinal fluid. These high levels of Substance P, a neurotransmitter, may be responsible for the heightened pain perception central to this condition.   Yet other studies have looked at the hypothalamic- pituitary-adrenal axis and have noted dysfunction in fibromyalgic persons.  Still other theories have been proposed that link fibromyalgia to ADHD ,food sensitivities, and other endocrine disturbances .

3)Sleep Disorder?--It has been noted that sleep disturbances are common in up to 96% of patients with fibromyalgia.  There is a theory that suggests that these sleep disturbances could result in disturbances of Human Growth Hormone in this population.  Human growth hormone is produced during delta sleep and has a role in tissue repair. Since fibromyalgia patients often have sleep issues and low levels of growth hormone, this is certainly a distinct possibility.

4)Past Traumatic Events--In our modern society, many people have faced all sorts of traumatic events during their lifetime.  Most of us have experienced, or know people who have experienced these things--physical abuse, divorce, automobile accidents, a parent's death, drug abuse, alcoholism...Some researchers believe that some individuals do not cope with these situations as well as others, and that the stress of these situations may be at least partially responsible for the development of the condition we know as fibromyalgia.

Tomorrow(Day 4)... What Treatments Are Available For Fibromyalgia?

repost from 2014

Source: Fibromyalgia 2nd Edition
               Nikita Katz MD PhD
               Institute for Natural Resources August 2009


Popular posts from this blog

Living with Chronic pain hits the big screen!

Been to the movies lately?  Jennifer Aniston is on the big screen in a recent release titled "Cake."
Her character, Claire is a victim of chronic pain...she belongs to a support group, where all of the members are coming to terms with the suicide of one of their members.  Of course, she also takes pain medication and addiction is another of her problems...and of course there's more!

I guess I am writing this post just to bring readers' attention to the fact that Hollywood has become aware of the crisis that is chronic pain.  This movie is a testament to that. People that don't have to live with this kind of pain don't fully understand the whole story.  Maybe this movie will shed some light on the issues.

Here is the official trailer for the movie:

Sources: prweb;;YouTube

Herpes As A Helper?

If you've ever had shingles, or known anyone that has experienced it, you probably know that chronic pain can persist following the initial attack (post herpetic neuralgia).  This is because the herpes virus seems to have an affinity for nerve cells.  And while it's not fun to have shingles or post herpetic neuralgia, the herpes virus may be a key in future development of delivery systems for pain management treatments.

Here's the deal--since Herpes simplex has an affinity for nerve cells, researchers are looking a genetically modified, safer version of the virus to deliver genetic material to damaged nerves.  In simple terms, once the genetic material reaches these nerve cells, it will hopefully encode these nerves to ultimately inhibit pain signals.  Animal studies and clinical trials in cancer patients have been encouraging thus far.

This is one of those developments that makes me believe that there is hope for those in chronic pain. Along with so many other exciting d…

The Knee Bone's Connected To The Leg Bone....

Two recent studies have brought a not-so-novel concept into the limelight-the concept being that people who present with knee pain often develop pain in other parts of their bodies.  These studies, known as the Multicenter Osteoarthritis Study (MOST) and the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI), were assessed by a Clinical Epidemiology Team as Boston University School of Medicine in an effort to find preventive strategies to combat this trend.

The authors suggest that knee pain may cause individuals to alter their gait in an effort to compensate for their discomfort. In doing so, the alignment of other body joints is altered, and this may be the cause of secondary joint pain, especially hips and ankles. The authors go on to say that the pain in these secondary sites is not necessarily osteoarthritis--perhaps bursitis or some other injury.

Osteoarthritis is a result of wear and tear in the joints.  We may not be able to completely eliminate osteoarthritis from occurring, but some common se…