No one knows the exact cause of fibromyalgia, but researchers have several theories about what seems to trigger this syndrome. There is also evidence that the development of firbromyalgia involves a variety of factors working together.
Chemical imbalances. Research suggest that in people fibromyalgia, there are important body chemicals that are not within normal range. The reason for excessive or deficient levels are thought to be associated with the interaction between the organs that regulate body chemicals.
Abnormal levels of certain hormones from the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal glands could contribute to fibromyalgia-type symptoms. If these glands do not work as they should, the abnormal hormone levels that they produce can result in sleep difficulties, increased susceptibility to pain, muscle pain and fatigue.
Autonomic dysfunction. The autonomic nervous system regulates important functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, sweating, core temperature and digestion. In many patients with fibromyalgia, a part of the autonomic nervous system seems over-activated.
Sleep problems. Most of the people diagnosed with fibromyalgia have sleep difficulties. They particularly have trouble with stage 4 sleep which is the time when the body heals itself. Some believe that being deprived of restful sleep means that the muscles of fibromyalgia patients fail to repair the tiny tears that can happen everyday. This is thought to contribute to muscle pain and fatigue. However,some experts believe that sleep problems result from fibromyalgia itself, and do not cause the disease.
Physical trauma or injury. Many believe that trauma such as neck injuries may contribute to the pain and fatigue which occur with fibromyalgia.
Illness or infection. In some people, fibromyalgia develops after an illness, hence many researchers theorize that bacteria or viral infections may bring on fibromyalgia.
Genetics. One theory suggests the tendency to get fibromyalgia maybe influenced by genetic factors. Some people may have inherited predisposition to developing disorders of the brain and spinal cord that greatly affects the response to severe pain.
Oelke, J. Natural Choices for Fibromyalgia: Discover Your Personal Method for Pain Relief. 2003. Natural Choices Inc.
Ostalecki, S. Fibromyalgia: The Complete Guide From Medical Experts and Patients. 2007. Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Inc.