Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized by aching and pain in muscles, tendons and joints all over the body, especially along the spine.
There are measurable changes in body chemistry and function in some people with fibromyalgia. These changes may be responsible for certain symptoms. However, its not associated with muscle, nerve or joint injury; inadequate muscle repair; or any serious bodily damage or disease. Also, people who have this pain are not at greater risk for any other musculoskeletal disease.
When stress continues without relief, your body doesn’t have time to relax or prepare for the next challenge. This is called distress. As you can see in Figure 1, distress can trigger a number of physical reactions and lead to the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. There are, however, many theories about why people get this.
One theory suggests that stress contributes to the onset of fibromyalgia
When fibromyalgia begins, stresses in a person’s life are prominent. Stress often results in disturbed sleep patterns and a lack of restful sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body does not produce the chemicals necessary to control or regulate pain. A lack of these pain-regulating chemicals results in tenderness in the upper back and forearms, leading to the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Physical and emotional factors may also contribute to the onset of the pain. For example, a physical illness (such as an infection) could cause changes in your body chemistry that lead to pain and sleeplessness.
When you are sick, you may worry about your health and become anxious, depressed or inactive. These emotional factors could make your symptoms worse.