Video Q & A:

FM and Other Conditions


What is the relationship between FM and stress?

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

Stress and pain are intertwined. That is particularly true for people with fibromyalgia. See why!

Transcript: Stress and pain are INTERTWINED. That is particularly true for people with fibromyalgia. Although there are MANY factors believed to be responsible for fibromyalgia, research shows that stress may be an important precipitating trigger in its development.Fibromyalgia patients show certain differences in the way their brain is set up and functions, which some research suggests may be the result of prolonged stress. Other studies have proposed that extremely stressful conditions can alter the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. The axis contains a combination of brain chemicals and fight-or-flight hormones. When these hormone levels are elevated for prolonged periods of time because of stress, it puts a strain on your heart, depletes your mood-calming neurotransmitters and causes your nervous system to become overactive. Other studies report that people with fibromyalgia have metabolic abnormalities in the hippocampal region of the brain that helps control cognitive functions, sleep and pain perception. Furthermore fibromyalgia is frequently linked with stress-related disorders such as chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowl syndrome and depression. Because fibromyalgia pain can INCREASE STRESS and stress can INCREASE PAIN PERCEPTION, it is essential that you find ways to break the cycle. Adopting stress management techniques, including acupuncture, meditation, yoga, aerobic exercise, and cognitive behavioral therapy, has been shown to help many people with fibromyalgia.For more information about managing fibromyalgia symptoms, check out other videos in this series. More »

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