Video Q & A:

Fibromyalgia 101


What causes fibromyalgia?

Expert:   Betty Keller, MD, FACR, Board Certified Internal Medicine & Rheumatology »

Researchers still aren't sure what exactly causes fibromyalgia, but they've got a few hypotheses. See what they are.

Transcript: Researchers hope they’re getting closer to finding—and understanding—what happens in the body that triggers the symptoms associated with the fibromyalgia -- extensive and persistent pain in muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Most agree that fibromyalgia seems to be set off by a combination of factors that cause a disturbance in sensory processing in the central nervous system. The brain and spinal cord are either amplifying normal pain processing or are missing filters that usually dampen painful sensations. The end result is that the brain receives more signals indicating pain. And people with fibromyalgia feel pain that wouldn’t register as an uncomfortable sensation to others. Certain GENES could predispose people to developing fibromyalgia and other common coexisting conditions. A University of Cincinnati study found that relatives of fibromyalgia patients were EIGHT times more likely to also develop fibromyalgia than family members of people without the condition. And according to a study of twins, genetics controls about 50 percent of the risk of developing chronic pain, and the environment accounts for the other 50 percent. In addition to genetic factors, ENVIRONMENTAL factors can trigger fibromyalgia. These include physical and mental trauma and mental stress. Infectious diseases, such as viral hepatitis C, parvovirus, Epstein Barr virus, and bacterial infections like Lyme disease, may also happen prior to the onset of fibromyalgia. People with chronic autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, often develop symptoms of fibromyalgia as well. To learn more about fibromyalgia, watch the other videos in this series. More »

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