Doctors can not agree on the exact cause of fibromyalgia. There are as many theories as to the cause of FMS, as there are possible symptoms. Discovering the real source of this condition is crucial, since treatment options must be directed towards curing the cause, instead of just treating the symptoms.
Fibromyalgia patients are left suffering while medical professionals spend much of their time arguing over what actually causes their pain. Doctors have long been focused on physical factors which may cause or contribute to FMS symptoms. Theories have ranged greatly in scope and plausibility. No single anatomical causative or contributing process or factor has even been universally identified. No standard physical identifiers even exist in a sizeable sample of FMS patients. This has been a confounding and frustrating process for rheumatologists to deal with. However, compared to the pain endured by their patients, it is nothing. In essence, doctors keep guessing, while patients keep suffering.
This dissertation examine some different theories about the true cause of fibromyalgia pain.
The following are some of the more plausible possible explanations of
the origin of FMS symptoms. None of these ideas are universally
accepted and many other possible causes have been proposed, but do not
receive much peer support from other doctors:
Immune disorder is one of the more common FMS explanations. Chemical evidence of immune irregularities is often found, but many doctors argue this is a result of FMS and not the source. No definitive evidence exists supporting either view. Many patients have no immune concerns at all.
Hormone imbalance is another very popular contribution theory. Many women are found to have hormonal concerns, but these may also be causative or a result of the syndrome. This cause flies out the window when you consider that most diagnosed women have a normal hormone balance and many men get FMS, as well.
Viral infection is suspected in some patients. This is largely unfounded, but still enjoys some support from doctors who seem to have an inordinate supply of diagnosed patients who have been exposed to unusual viruses. This is usually regional in the evidence sample and does not provide much large scale support for the viral causative theory.
Environmental contamination is one of the lesser supported
sources, since although some FMS patients have evidence of contaminants
in their systems, this is not nearly common, forget about universal.
Additionally, many people with no symptoms might have the same
substances in their systems, but suffer no ill effects.
Mindbody cause seems one of the more logical explanations. Although this approach has received considerable medical support, many patients are resistant due to the stigma of psychological conditions. Treatment using purely psychoemotional methods has been one of the more successful paths towards a cure.
It is believed by some medical professionals that fibromyalgia is caused by a psychological defense mechanism. It does not make sense that such a wide variety of symptoms can possibly be caused by a singular physical source. If this were the case, medical science would have a clearer picture of the exact nature of this chronic disease. It is understood that the pain is very real and certainly not imaginary or exaggerated.
The medical community seems to agree with the knowledge therapy community, since they both see cellular oxygen deprivation as a potential cause of fibromyalgia. Unfortunately, some in the medical community see ischemia as a side effect, while the knowledge therapy approach views this as the logical source of the physical pain. It is my thought that fibromyalgia may be similar or identical to what used to be described as psychogenic regional pain. (Dr. Allan Walters 1959)
Physical medicine has utilized all types of drugs for treating FMS. The best that these drugs has accomplished is make the condition more liveable. It is unfortunate that so many of these drugs have powerful side effects and can be highly addictive. There have been much better results (that I have personally witnessed) with psychological treatments such as knowledge therapy or pain coaching. Remember, you have nothing to lose by trying this proven approach. There are no side effects and no inherent financial costs.