Unfortunately there is no complete understanding of what causes fibromyalgia and research is continually being carried out to determine this cause. Research currently suggests that there is a link and interaction between physical, mental and psychological factors in each sufferer. The pain that is felt in any individual is often affected by their emotional state and conditions such as anxiety and depression can exacerbate physical pain. The alternative can also be true.
Many people experience a trigger event which results in the fibromyalgia symptoms. These trigger events are often things such as viral infections, mental trauma or physical trauma such as an injury in a public place, at work or in a road traffic accident. Many of the people currently living with fibromyalgia have suffered a traumatic event which wasn’t their fault yet they are left with the long-term after effects.
Recent studies into the causes of fibromyalgia show interesting comparisons and are looked at in more depth below.
Abnormal Nervous System Processes
One of the leading theories is that people living with fibromyalgia have developed changes in the way their central nervous system processes the pain messages around their body. This could be due to chemical imbalances in the nervous system. Research has shown that people living with fibromyalgia syndrome have strikingly low levels of the hormones noradrenaline, dopamine and serotonin in their brains and the cause of the syndrome could be linked to these differences. These hormones are essential for regulating certain behaviours integral to a happy healthy life including mood, sleep, behaviour, stress management and appetite.
Further research suggests that disturbed sleeping patterns may be a cause of fibromyalgia or exacerbate the condition. Conversely, fibromyalgia sufferers often live with chronic fatigue but continue to suffer with disturbed sleep.
Most studies have concluded that there are no links between fibromyalgia and genetics, although there is further research being carried out in this area.