What Causes Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia syndrome is characterized by aching pain and stiffness in soft tissues including muscles, ligaments, and tendons. There are areas of great sensitivity called "tender points." Other characteristics may include sleep disturbances, restlessness, numbness in arms and legs, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, and headaches.
The cause of fibromyalgia seems to be unknown, but it may be triggered or exacerbated by stress. Emotional, physical, or mental stress originates from a wide range of things such as job stress, family problems, poor diet, adrenal fatigue, an imbalance of hormones (such as thyroid or sex hormones), or even air pollution.
For more on possible causes see my article "Signs and Symptoms of Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? The cure may be more basic than you think."
Conventional drug therapy may include
•tricyclic antidepressants in low doses to help reduce pain and promote sleep
•sedatives to help fibromyalgia sufferers sleep
•local anesthetics injected into tender points to relieve pain
While drug therapy can provide some short-term relief, non-drug treatments are usually the most helpful. Specific non-conventional testing may help the physician discover the root cause of the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Along with those lab tests, a wide range of therapies can be used to alleviate specific symptoms. Here are some of the approaches I take:
Testing for endocrine imbalances is an important diagnostic procedure. A thyroid panel may reveal hypothyroidism (an under active thyroid gland) that causes a decreased metabolic rate which can lead to decreased energy, unwanted weight gain, and a decline in hormone production of the body. An imbalance of hormones can lead to chronic fatigue and pain. A decrease in specific hormones could include progesterone, estrogen, and DHEA, as well as cortisol, which functions in helping the body cope with stress and control inflammation and pain in our body and promotes sleep and a sense of well-being.
I use salivary hormone testing to assess hormone levels.