Fibromyalgia is a common condition characterized by extreme pain which is readily felt all over the body. Many fibromyalgia’s are of unknown origin, this means that they are idiopathic in nature. Although there are several evident manifestations that can be seen, they are not directly effects of fibromyalgia but complications of its main symptom which is pain.
Medical professionals have been debating on the definitive cause of fibromyalgia and until now there is no discovery that has surfaced yet. Debates are focused on whether fibromyalgia is really caused by malfunctioning biological processes or by psychological factors that may be manifested physically. According to some studies, there are several theories that may explain the occurrence of fibromyalgia; however, these theories are only speculations and there is little evidence gathered.
There are some medical professionals who believe that fibromyalgia is caused by a biological disturbance, there are also those who believe that it is only a psychological problem that needs to be addressed; but there are those who have a firm conviction that this condition is both caused by biological and psychological stressors. Heredity is also an issue that needs further study.
Causes of fibromyalgia
A very popular theory that may explain the development of fibromyalgia is related to hormonal imbalances. The problem starts when there is an inadequate or the total lack of serotonin, a brain neurotransmitter. Serotonin plays a great role in the control of one’s mood as well as muscle relaxation and sleep. Therefore, if there is an inadequate amount of serotonin in the body, most probably tension will always be present and it will be difficult to relax. Aside from defects in serotonin production, there are two additional hormones that may contribute to the development of fibromyalgia. First is the decrease in the body’s natural painkiller; lack of substance P in the body will result in decreased pain thresholds. This is even exaggerated in fibromyalgia.
Aside from hormonal imbalances, another theory explaining the occurrence of fibromyalgia is related to stress and fatigue. According to some studies, there is a specific pathway during stress that affects the nerve endings located in the skin which in turn greatly causes severe pain. In addition, stress activates the flight and fight response of the body; this mechanism activates either the sympathetic or parasympathetic nervous system. Due to this, the body is always on guard of external stimuli and oftentimes, this may result in the exaggerated response of the body to pain. Fatigue is also pointed out as one cause of fibromyalgia. During fatigue muscles are constantly contracting and in use, as a result tension occurs thus the explanation why there is always severe pain felt in the entire body.
Although there are several theories and explanations on the biological origin of fibromyalgia, most cases of this condition have unknown origin or they are idiopathic in nature. They occur abruptly without any warning and they may be very crippling due to the extreme pain. Even if there is a plateau stage, majority of cases improve over time and the person is able to live a normal life again as if nothing happened. Because of the peculiarity of most cases, many medical professionals believe that the main cause is related to a person’s psychological state of mind. Pain is a subjective feeling, only a person who feels it is able to describe its quality and characteristic, science cannot question what a person feels that is why fibromyalgia is considered a health condition that needs immediate attention.
Treatment of pain
The primary goal of treatment for fibromyalgia is to address its main problem which is pain. Pain can cause several umbrella effects therefore pain prevention is very important. The first thing that may help in relieving pain is to try as many therapies as possible. Therapies that increase the mobility and movement of the body will help in relieving pain that is why exercise and physical therapy is a very effective method. Body massage and acupuncture can also help in relieving pain.
Most patients who have fibromyalgia are unable to sleep properly during night time, being wide awake makes the situation even worse because the person is aware of the pain and therefore aggravates the situation even more. Although it is not a direct remedy to pain, taking in sedatives may also be a good idea to promote proper rest. Furthermore, sedatives somehow relax the brain in its proper functioning therefore pain is not totally interpreted like it should be. Getting adequate amounts of sleep will also result in more relaxed muscles therefore pain is lessened.
Lastly, the best possible way to alleviate pain is to avoid stress and fatigue. It does not only stimulate and worsen the pain but it also brings about muscle tension and other adverse side effects.