Causes of Fibromyalgia

Although fibromyalgia is often considered an arthritis-related condition, it is not truly a form of arthritis (a disease of the joints) because it does not cause inflammation or damage to the joints, muscles, or other tissues. Like arthritis, however, fibromyalgia can cause significant pain and fatigue, and it can interfere with a person’s ability to carry on daily activities. Also like arthritis, fibromyalgia is considered a rheumatic condition, a medical condition that impairs the joints and/or soft tissues and causes chronic pain.

Despite the large number of symptoms, there is no generally agreed-upon explanation for how or why central sensitization develops. The most plausible theory suggests that some people have a genetic predisposition to fibromyalgia because of a heightened sense of pain. In other people, various stressors, including infection, physical or emotional trauma, sleep disturbances, or other medical conditions allow for the development of fibromyalgia.

The chance of developing fibromyalgia is increased eightfold in family members of a person with fibromyalgia compared with people in the general population. Similar genetic factors are noted in people with irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and migraines.

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