Fibromyalgia can put your entire body through the wringer for years before you get a diagnosis. No one is entirely sure what causes fibromyalgia, but there are enough links to specific things for doctors to be able to find common threads.
At CHOICE Pain & Rehabilitation Center, with multiple locations in Maryland, our expert providers work closely with patients suffering from fibromyalgia. We can help you understand what your symptoms mean, what you can do about them, and how you can live a full and happy life with “fibro.”
Fibromyalgia is a disorder that’s hard to diagnose. In fact, it’s typically diagnosed after all other explanations for symptoms have been ruled out. The most common symptom of fibromyalgia is widespread musculoskeletal pain.
Many patients also complain of symptoms like gut and bowel upset, migraine, fatigue, as well as mood, memory, and sleep problems. Fibromyalgia may appear suddenly after trauma, or symptoms may slowly manifest and worsen over time.
The links behind fibromyalgia
Although the core cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, there are certain things known to increase someone’s risk of developing the condition.
Fibromyalgia seems to run in families, and therefore it's thought to have a genetic component. It has similar symptoms to other autoimmune conditions, including gut problems, chronic fatigue, and wildly variable blood glucose levels.
Fibro in women also seems to occur along with migraines, unexplained back and pelvic pain, and extreme cramps before and during menstrual periods.
Women seem to be more at risk than men of developing autoimmune, chronic pain, and fatigue conditions, and hormones may be to blame.
Female mice were shown to be more prone to developing lupus than male mice, and hormones have also been connected to cases of rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, all three of which are autoimmune conditions that affect more women than men.
Another study of mice seemed to indicate that muscle strength or fatigue is connected to ASIC3 protein levels and high or low testosterone depending on the sex of the mouse.
Female mice, which were lower in testosterone and lacking ASIC3 protein, were more prone to having muscle fatigue. If they had higher ASIC3 protein levels and were given testosterone, they became stronger and displayed fewer signs of fatigue.
In contrast, male mice, which have high levels of both ASIC3 protein and testosterone, were naturally less fatigued. Male mice with lower protein levels whose testosterone was reduced quickly became more fatigued.
It is hoped that studies like these can help provide more insight into what causes fibromyalgia and can lead to treatments to combat the symptoms of fibro, such as chronic pain and fatigue.
There is currently no cure for fibromyalgia. Treatment is typically aimed at reducing the severity of “fibro flares,” which is when symptoms become abruptly worse for a few days or weeks. Typically, doctors aim to reduce symptom severity by recommending certain options, such as pain management therapy, anti-depression medications, and lifestyle changes.
At CHOICE Pain & Rehabilitation Center, our specialists work together with fibromyalgia patients, delivering holistic and medical solutions. Our Maryland offices are located in Hyattsville, Gaithersburg, Lanham, Dundalk, Oxon Hill, Rosedale, and Olney, and we have two offices in Baltimore. To schedule a consultation, call the location closest to you or request an appointment online.