What Causes Fibromyalgia?

 The cause of fibromyalgia is not known. Those affected experience pain in response to stimuli that are normally not perceived as painful. Researchers have found elevated levels of a nerve chemical signal, called substance P, and nerve growth factor in the spinal fluid of fibromyalgia patients. Levels of the brain chemical serotonin are also relatively low in patients with fibromyalgia. Studies of pain in fibromyalgia have suggested that the central nervous system may somehow be supersensitive. Scientists note that there be a diffuse disturbance of pain perception in patients with fibromyalgia.

Also, patients with fibromyalgia have impaired non-rapid eye movement, or non-REM, sleep phase ( which likely, at least in part, explains the common feature of waking up fatigued and unrefreshed in these patients ). The onset of fibromyalgia has been associated with psychological distress, trauma and infection.

Can Fibromyalgia be prevented?

There is no method of preventing fibromyalgia. Exacerbations of fibromyalgia can be minimized with promotion of optimal sleep, stress reduction, and proper medical treatment. What is in the future for fibromyalgia therapy?

The key to unlocking the mystery has yet to be found. Research scientists have studying numerous viruses as potential causes of fibromyalgia. Identification of an infectious agent or toxin which causes the disease may one day lead to a laboratory test that can help doctors diagnose fibromyalgia. Specific fibromyalgia treatment aimed at a cure awaits future research that uncovers the exact cause of the disease.

Recent scientific studies suggest that a specific area of the brain called the insula may be involved in the pathophysiology of fibromyalgia.