Fibromyalgia: Trauma

Misty Romack

It is suspected that Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) may be due to trauma, at least it has been proven that trauma does have an impact on pain intensity. The pathology still isn't clear for FMS due to many different variables and etiologies that can lead to chronic widespread pain this can include physical traumas or injuries, emotional trauma, and/or genetic susceptibility. A cross-sectional study was published by Hindawi in Pain and Research Management titled Prevalence and Characterization of Psychological Trauma in Patients with Fibromyalgia.

FM is often diagnosed alongside chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), due to the overlap between their symptoms and their underlying biological mechanisms. Although the etiology of FM remains unknown, several explanations have been proposed for the onset of FM, including genetic factors, hormonal and immunological alterations, nutritional aspects, and abnormalities in central pain processing linked to the sensitization of the central nervous system (CNS)," states the Hindawi website.

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Psychological trauma can increase pain levels for FM patients and increase dysregulation in HPA axis.Photo bygeralt

The CNS has been suggested as one of the main pathophysiological changes involved in FM. This can include involving neurotransmitter imbalances, altered functional connectivity, and changes in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, all these factors influence the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Chronic or acute exposures to stressors including psychological trauma influences the dysregulation of the HPA axis.

Psychological trauma is defined as a stressful life event that causes distress and exceeds an individual’s ability to integrate the emotions and cognitions involved in the experience. These events happen in an unexpected and uncontrollable manner, putting the individual’s physical and psychological integrity at risk, exceeding their coping resources and leading to responses of helplessness and fear," states the Hindawi website.

Childhood trauma and its psychopathological and somatic consequences are severe due to the vulnerability of the CNS during infancy and adolescence, although trauma can occur throughout a persons' lifetime. Childhood trauma encompasses various forms of physical and emotional abuse or neglect, sexual abuse, bullying, or dysfunction experienced in childhood. Conclusions for this cross-sectional study suggests future research and study along with providing the following insight.

Our data specifically emphasize the importance of psychological trauma, especially childhood trauma, in the onset and maintenance of pain. However, close monitoring and treatment of psychological trauma are also indicated across the lifespan of FM patients. This should encourage clinicians to assess psychological trauma routinely and to include trauma-focused therapies within established multidisciplinary health care professionals, following existing FM guidelines," states the Hindawi website.

**Note from the Author: Trauma and PTSD along with Depression and Anxiety can come from many different things over a lifespan of a patient, including myself. I am also a survivor of childhood trauma and an adult survivor of domestic abuse. Undoubtedly there are also genetic factors at play for my own Fibromyalgia, as there are generations of Fibromyalgia in my family. No matter the cause of my Fibromyalgia, I do know that specifically, emotional stressors, along with PTSD can drain a person mentally and physically when suffering from this syndrome. To give you the best example, recently I was helping yet another survivor with advice and assistance, on top of having a physical dental issue the previous day. That night when I laid down to sleep, I was overstimulated and overwhelmed because I noticed muscle twitches and various physical warning signs of CNS dysfunction. This sent me to sleep all day in bed the following day after with a case of brain fog. Although I felt fine while providing the assistance my body was triggered by the emotional responses along with the facial pain. Multiple factors with emotion, along with physical pain, can put us in bed for an entire day. Be aware of self-care! I highly recommend anyone who suffers from trauma or abuse to seek counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy, not only to alleviate your pain levels, but also to help keep you moving, and not make you bed ridden. I hope this information helps. --Wellness Wishes from Your Author**

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Sharing life experience from many factors in life, including Chronic Systemic Illnesses (Mast Cell Activation, Interstitial Cystitis, Fibromyalgia, Neuropathy). Motherhood for special needs children (ADHD) and Autism. Abuse Survivors, and Baking.

Lafayette, IN
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