What Causes Fibromyalgia Pain?

Even physicians have had trouble truly understanding fibromyalgia. The causes of fibromyalgia pain have long been debated. Many see fibromyalgia as a psychological illness, not one caused by a physical problem.

Recently though, fibromyalgia research has shown that pain may be caused by a biological problem in the brain.

It seems that those people with fibromyalgia actually have a much lower threshold for pain than those who don't have the syndrome. This means that even a gentle touch could cause excruciating pain in someone with fibromyalgia.

Recent studies show that it only takes half of the stimulus normally necessary to produce pain signals in the brains of fibromyalgia sufferers. Those suffering from the disease tend to "remember" this pain longer too; they will continue feeling pain even after the event that caused it in the first place is no longer present.

This lowered pain threshold is probably caused by a miscommunication somewhere in the brain. For instance, when you touch something that is hot, nerves in your hands and arms send off pulses that travel to your brain.

It seems that those people with fibromyalgia actually experience a change in this signal once it reaches the base of the spinal cord. Here, the pain signals are actually magnified, causing extreme and chronic pain.

Factors that Affect Pain

The pain associated with fibromyalgia can come and go and it will change in intensity. There are a variety of factors that may make your pain worse:

  • exercise
  • fatigue
  • poor nutrition
  • hormone fluctuations
  • changing weather
  • stress
  • depression

Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MFP) and Fibromyalgia

Some fibromyalgia sufferers also experience an additional syndrome, called myofascial pain syndrome. Your body is held together by fascia, a connective tissue that surrounds everything inside of you, including your bones, muscles, and blood vessels.

Those with myofascial pain syndrome experience chronic pain in their fascia, particularly at certain trigger points in their bodies. These trigger points tend to be located at points where the fascia connects directly with a muscle.

Myofascial pain can be stabbing, throbbing, or aching, and, at its most severe, debilitating.

Temperomandibular Joint Pain

Those suffering from fibromyalgia sometimes experience severe pain in their temporomandibular joint. This joint, which is commonly referred to as the jawbone, can cause severe pain and discomfort including:

  • severe and persistent headaches
  • jaw clicking
  • a locked jaw
  • difficulty opening and closing the mouth

More than 75% of fibromyalgia patients suffer from some type of TMJD, and this often exacerbates existing fibromyalgia pain.

Table of Contents
1. Widespread Pain
2. When it hurts all over..
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