Those who suffer from fibromyalgia experience widespread musculoskeletal pain for at least three months. Although this widespread pain is one of the most compelling reasons for patients to seek help from a pain management doctor, fibromyalgia can cause other symptoms, including fatigue, sleep disturbances, and skin sensitivities. Pain management doctors aren’t sure exactly what causes fibromyalgia; more research is needed in this area. However, it’s thought to involve a combination of the following contributing causes and risk factors.
Pain management doctors have theorized that excessive stimulation of the nerves changes the brains of those who develop fibromyalgia. Specifically, patients have an increased number of certain neurotransmitters involved with pain signals. This results in the sensation of pain. Furthermore, patients with fibromyalgia have been found to have lower pain thresholds because the pain receptors become highly sensitive to the electrical impulses. One possible reason for this is a decrease in levels of serotonin, a type of neurotransmitter responsible for producing a calming effect.
Patients who consult a pain management specialist for possible fibromyalgia symptoms should disclose their full medical histories, including their family medical histories. It’s thought that a family history of fibromyalgia can predispose a patient to it. However, the specific genetic mutations that may be responsible for the disorder have yet to be identified.
Researchers believe that a person who is predisposed to fibromyalgia is more likely to develop it with the introduction of a trigger. This trigger may involve physical trauma, such as an injury or illness. Physical trauma may also worsen fibromyalgia symptoms.
Psychological stress may also function as a trigger for the onset of fibromyalgia symptoms. Specifically, researchers postulate that chronic or significant stress, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may trigger the symptoms.
Gender is a possible risk factor for fibromyalgia. Women are much more likely to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia than men, which may be at least partially explained by serotonin levels. Women have about seven times less of this neurotransmitter than men, according to WebMD.
Residents of Laguna Hills, Mission Viejo, and Irvine are encouraged to schedule an appointment with Pain Specialists of Orange County. You can reach us at (888) 699-1334 or visit our website to learn more. We proudly offer compassionate pain management services, including fibromyalgia treatment.