Experts believe that the increase of Fibromyalgia sufferers have grown significantly over the 20th and the 21st century. Why?
Some believe that Fibromyalgia is the new symptom of stress.
Fibromyalgia is becoming one of the most common conditions in modern society, affecting 1 in 20 people worldwide.
Experts claim that long-term stress is a major factor in causing Fibromyalgia. Demanding jobs and lifestyles can start to put a strain on the mind and body, and over the long-term can cause a domino effect that knocks the body out-of-balance.
Fibromyalgia Syndrome or FMS, is a medical condition that results in a range of symptoms. It may even be the result of an auto-immune condition – meaning your immune system attacks healthy cells by mistake.
These symptoms can start as minor or severe muscular pain and headaches, and progress to chronic pain, insomnia, joint pain, numbness, and tingling in the arms and legs.
The pain can occur in any parts of your body where muscles are present. However, joints can be impacted too. Pain might be present in your hips, thighs, knees, legs, buttocks, neck, elbows, wrists, arms, shoulders, chest, feet and ankles. The pain can range from burning, gnawing, radiating, shooting, or just a dull ache. These pains can be severe or mild, but they are felt deep inside the muscle, ligament and tendons.
It can also cause a range of gastrointestinal problems like irritable bowel syndrome and bladder complaints.
Many people could also struggle to remember things, and concentrate for long periods of time. Psychological symptoms can also occur, especially depression and anxiety.
“70% of people with FMS report cognitive difficulties”, claims Kim Jones, PhD.
They also experience sensitivity to cold, and swelling sensation in the hands without the appearance of swelling.
It is important to realize that Fibromyalgia is not consistent. One day the pain can be severe, and the next day only mild. As you get older, the severity and frequency of symptoms can increase.
There are countless symptoms of Fibromyalgia, and a person that has FMS can experience a range of these symptoms any given time.
How do I know if I have FMS?
It is sometimes hard to tell whether you might have Fibromyalgia, as most symptoms of FMS can occur in other conditions. And doctors are reluctant to diagnose this condition as there is no cure, and little understanding to the cause of it.
There is a common diagnose which occupational therapists will carry out in order to determine if you have FMS. There are 18 tender points that they will press on with moderate pressure. If 11 or more are uncomfortable or painful, and is accompanied by the variety of symptoms, then the diagnoses is usually FMS.
|75% of diagnoses of FMS are women between the ages of twenty to sixty.|
The majority of the cases of FMS occur in women. Some children or elderly can develop it, but that could be because an underlying condition has put stress on the body.
Although men have been known to have FMS, it is more common in women.
What is the cause of FMS?
The two main causes of FMS are stress and traumatic experiences. There is another prevailing theory. We all have genetic profiles that could increase our risk to developing certain conditions. In regards to Fibromyalgia, there is around 20 or so genes involved in the expression of FMS. If a person has a lot of these genes, it may not take much to trigger them off, resulting in the eventual development of Fibromyalgia.
There is strong support that FMS is a psycho-social disorder. Stress alters hormones and chemicals in the brain. Long-term stress is thought to interrupt the natural physiological process of energy productions.
Both stress and trauma can also have an effect on the nerves in the body. Stress can interrupt the natural processes in the brain, and the brain is the direct link to the nerves. The sensory nerves in our body transmits pain signals to the brain. If these nerves become over-sensitized, the pain perceived can actually be worse for people that suffer from Fibromyalgia.
Serotonin, a chemical that is present in the brain can be depleted by stress. Serotonin is known for being a natural mood booster. However, it also participates in pain regulation. And when levels of serotonin are depleted due to pain being present, more pain is felt. Resulting in the vicious pain cycle that keeps going round and around because levels of important neurotransmitters are constantly being sucked dry.
It is debated whether trauma is a direct cause of FMS due to the way it affects the nervous system, or if it triggers off genes that otherwise might have remained dormant.
Whether it is the result of an autoimmune condition, a neurochemical imbalance, a nervous system disorder, or an endocannabinoid deficiency, one thing is certain – this condition is all too real. It is not in your head like it has previously been assumed.
This silent destroyer can make its way through every part of your body. Understanding why it could have occurred can enable the next plan of action – what to do about it…