The cause of Fibromyalgia is
unknown. Physical or emotional trauma may play a role in development of the syndrome. A
number of lines of evidence suggest that fibromyalgia patients have abnormal pain
It has been suggested that sleep disturbances, which are common in fibromyalgia
patients, may actually cause the condition. Another hypothesis suggests that the disorder
may be associated with changes in skeletal muscle metabolism, possibly caused by decreased
blood flow, which could cause chronic fatigue and weakness.
The causes of fibromyalgia are unknown. There may be a
number of factors involved. Fibromyalgia has been linked to:
- Stressful or traumatic events, such as car accidents
- Repetitive injuries
- Certain diseases.
Others have suggested that an infectious microbe, such as a virus, triggers the
illness. At this point, no such virus or microbe has been identified.
Pilot studies have shown a possible inherited tendency toward the disease, though
evidence is very preliminary.
The disorder has an increased frequency among women 20 to 50 years old. The prevalence
of the disease has been estimated between 0.7% and 13% for women, and between 0.2% and
3.9% for men.
Genetics as a cause for fibromyalgia
Some scientists speculate that a person’s genes may regulate the way his
or her body processes painful stimuli. According to this theory, people with
fibromyalgia may have a gene or genes that cause them to react strongly to
stimuli that most people would not perceive as painful. There have already
been several genes identified that occur more commonly in fibromyalgia
patients, and NIAMS-supported researchers are currently looking at other