Fibromyalgia – What are the causes of Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness
Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness

It’s not clear why some people develop fibromyalgia. The exact cause is unknown, but it’s likely that a number of factors are involved.

Here are some of the main factors thought to contribute to the condition:

Abnormal pain messages

One of the main theories is that people with fibromyalgia have developed changes in the way the central nervous system processes the pain messages carried around the body. This could be due to changes to chemicals in the nervous system.

The central nervous system (brain, spinal cord and nerves) transmits information all over your body through a network of specialised cells. Changes in the way this system works may explain why fibromyalgia results in constant feelings of, and extreme sensitivity to, pain.

Chemical imbalances

Research has found that people with fibromyalgia have abnormally low levels of the hormones serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine in their brains.

Low levels of these hormones may be a key factor in the cause of fibromyalgia, as they’re important in regulating things such as:

mood

appetite

sleep

behaviour

your response to stressful situations

These hormones also play a role in processing pain messages sent by the nerves. Increasing the hormone levels with medication can disrupt these signals.

Some researchers have also suggested that changes in the levels of some other hormones, such as cortisol (which is released when the body is under stress), may contribute to fibromyalgia.

Sleep problems

It’s possible that disturbed sleep patterns may be a cause of fibromyalgia, rather than just a symptom.

Fibromyalgia can prevent you from sleeping deeply and cause fatigue (extreme tiredness). People with the condition who sleep badly can also have higher levels of pain, suggesting that these sleep problems contribute to the other symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Genetics

Research has suggested that genetics may play a small part in the development of fibromyalgia, with some people perhaps more likely than others to develop the condition because of their genes.

If this is the case, genetics could explain why many people develop fibromyalgia after some sort of trigger.

Possible triggers

Fibromyalgia is often triggered by a stressful event, including physical stress or emotional (psychological) stress. Possible triggers for the condition include:

an injury

a viral infection

giving birth

having an operation

the breakdown of a relationship

being in an abusive relationship

the death of a loved one

However, in some cases, fibromyalgia doesn’t develop after any obvious trigger.

Associated conditions

There are several other conditions often associated with fibromyalgia. Generally, these are rheumatic conditions (affecting the joints, muscles and bones), such as:

osteoarthritis – when damage to the joints causes pain and stiffness

lupus – when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells and tissues in various parts of the body

rheumatoid arthritis – when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the joints, causing pain and swelling

ankylosing spondylitis – pain and swelling in parts of the spine

temporomandibular disorder (TMD) – a condition that can cause pain in the jaw, cheeks, ears and temples

Conditions such as these are usually tested for when diagnosing fibromyalgia.

Common Hidden and Invisible Illnesses Explained – Please share to raise awareness

If you saw a person in a wheelchair or on crutches struggling to move, would you accuse them of milking it for attention? Not unless you were a truly malign, cold-hearted individual. If you saw a seemingly healthy person climbing out of a car that’s just been parked in a disabled parking spot, would you accost them and insist that they park elsewhere? Quite possibly, but before you do, it’s worth taking the time to consider whether that person actually does need the spot, even though they seem healthy.

There’s a little insight into the world of the hidden illness sufferer. Aside from the crippling physical pain they courageously endure on a daily basis, there’s also the frustration and torment of unsympathetic observers who take their exterior appearance at face value and believe that there’s nothing wrong. It doesn’t have to be a physical illness, either. Depression is also classified as a hidden illness, as it is a medical condition which might be highly concealed but has an enormously damaging impact on a person’s day-to-day life.

For people living with hidden illnesses, a basic degree of understanding and empathy from others is greatly appreciated. If you hear someone saying profusely that they’re feeling unwell, don’t just brush their words aside as the attention-seeking whines of a serial complainer. Ask them if there is anything you can do to make them feel a bit better. A person without a chronic illness just does not know the extent of the suffering of those with such illnesses.

This infographic from Burning Nights neatly summarises 10 of the most common hidden illnesses so that we can all obtain a small level of understanding. This include multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, depression, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Lyme disease, Lupus and CRPS. Maybe the next time we see a seemingly healthy person occupying a handicapped parking space, we won’t be so hasty in our judgement.

Common Hidden Illnesses Explained [Infographic]

Does anyone else in your family have Fibromyalgia?

Does anyone else in your family have fibromyalgia?
Does anyone else in your family have fibromyalgia?

Does anyone else in your family have Fibromyalgia?

Is Fibromyalgia inherited or a genetic condition?

Opinions on this important matter differ so we thought we would find out more from our readers.

Can you help?

It would be great if you could take part in and share the poll below.

Could you also share it with other members of the fibromyalgia and autoimmune communities please?

If you would like to share more about your story when not use the comments box to tell us a bit more about your family and fibromyalgia.

Many thanks in advance!

20 Natural Sleep Remedies

A lot of the areas featured in this blog may involve insomnia to some degree.

These include autism, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.

So I am delighted to share this infographic which looks at some of the natural remedies for sleep disorders.

However I do have a favour to ask of you my lovely readers. Have you tried any of these remedies? If so which ones and how did they work? It would be great if you would share your experiences in the comments box below.

Many thanks

20 Natural Sleep Remedies

From Visually.

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Parenting with a Chronic Illness – Some tips for being a great parent even with a long term illness

Being a parent and being ill
Being a parent and being ill

A couple of days ago we are our readers on Facebook what advice they had to share about being a parent which a chronic medical condition such as multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes.

Given challenged such as pain, fatigue and insomnia which are attached to all these conditions it makes the roll of being a parent much harder.
We results of the request for tips was overwhelming – so when have chosen a cross selection of the responses. Please feel free to share your tips in the comments section below!

For Shanice it was just two simple words “Plan ahead”.

Heidi concurred “plan ahead, EXPLAIN yourself when you can’t do things. Let them help you, they will learn how to me compassionate caring adults because of you. If they help with chores, (mine do most of the chores) it helps you and teaches then life skills…how to be a team player, how to be observant, how to be patient, how to do simple household necessities….”

“I’m honest with mine. But not overly. My two oldest learned about my illnesses to have better understanding. Get up and move every day. Find ways to spend time with them that lets you rest. We read, watch movies, play board games in my bed. We have picnics in the living room. Love on them, let them feel special.” This was Rebecca’s view.

But “Don’t feel you need to compensate and buy them lots of “stuff” its love that counts. My kids think it’s great when we all bundle into my bed and watch a film, even if I often fall asleep.” Shared Becca.

Carrie told us “I’m honest with them when it’s a bad day. They are finally old enough to understand when I say maybe our we’ll see about something they want to do in a few days that it depends on my health. Also I had to learn to pick my battles what’s a priority to push them for or about…”
“Do intimate things like read books, finger-paint, buy a bunch of colored paper and make things…don’t push yourself. They will love you no matter what you can or cannot do. Children just need our attention, reassurance and love. Activities are a bonus. Take care of you….teaching them to take care of themselves on a cloudy day!!” was Michelle’s excellent advice!

Claudia shares “I told my children about my fibro but they already knew about illnesses during my cancer. They would spend time in my room a lot. We’d watch movies cartoons whatnot on TV. We’d play games on the floor like board games. Kept active. Made sure they were active in activities outside the house. I’d attend all their games.”

“Eat right and stay moving. Once you stop you’re done. I think that’s the only way I can actually sleep is by staying active. And having 3 boys help with keeping you going” was Elizabeth’s very practical advice.

Judy was very down to earth “1) Always make sure you have colouring and activity books to keep them busy just in case you need a few hours of rest in peace and quiet. 2) Teach your children about your illness so they’ll know what to expect and won’t be scared. 3) make sure to keep quick and easy to assemble lunch and dinners handy JUST IN CASE you cannot stand to cook a lot.”

Jayme had a different perspective – that of having been the child of somebody with multiple sclerosis “Also checks the psychology of the children. I was told my mother has MS at 8 years old. As an 8 year old, we are the mind-set of “Step on a crack, break Mommy’s back”. So, I assumed, that it was my fault she had MS, since she told me, she had her first attack, when she was pregnant with me. Talk openly about it and how it affects you. I spoke to Mom at length about her life decisions due to MS; my brother didn’t and came away with a totally different concept of her.”
So what about you? Do you have any tips for parenting? Or do you have any questions?

Either way why not share them in the comments box below.

Thanks very much in advance.