Fibromyalgia is a condition typifying extreme, widespread all over the body. It usually appears as pain in the tendons behind the knees, around the hips, on the upper and lower back, collar bone area, and many other points throughout the body. However, what causes it and is it a brain malfunction or truly bodily disease?
Women are far more likely to have it than men. The ratio is 9:1
This means that for every one man who has fibromyalgia, there are nine women who have it. Does this make it a mostly female disease?
Some experts believe that it is the result of pain neurons misfiring in the brain or being misinterpreted in the brain, while other experts see it as purely a physical pain and body-wide tendon inflammation, as well as possible being nerve related and the results of nerves misfiring.
Mental symptoms or co-syndromes of Fibromyalgia include Depression, Long-term Stress, Short-term Intensive Stress, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Often, the intense body pain which is so widespread and typical of Fibromyalgia comes after a woman has suffered large amounts of depression, stress, or PTSD.
These symptoms often go together, and it is a common occurrence for the physical symptoms to follow the mental problem, and for the mental symptoms to follow the physical problem.
This is one of the reasons why many experts believe that Fibromyalgia is connected with psychological disorders, depression, and psychological trauma.
In women, this can be one of the reasons why this condition is so much more prevalent than in men. While women are naturally more resilient against long-term, residual pain, the incredibly intense long-term pain of Fibromyalgia can easily come from intense mental pain, and depression can be either the cause or the result of Fibromyalgia.
By the same token, post traumatic stress disorder heavily contributes to physical pain, and is the cause for many physical nerve issues, including but not limited to the widespread pain of Fibromyalgia.
Of course, this is simply the body’s manifestation of that psychological trauma into something which you have to pay attention to.
Any psyche-to-body pain transference is the result of this. If you cannot successfully deal with the issue psychologically, then it will manifest physically, in order to capture your attention. It’s the body’s wake up call, and many people do not understand the underlying connection between these two systems.
Physical symptoms of Fibromyalgia can be widespread intense pain or widespread, soft, residual pain. Either way, it often is the result of nerves misfiring.
Physically, this means that when your nerves feel pain from an oven, they immediately send high numbers of pain signals to your brain. However, if your nerves simply just fired over and over again, due to inflammation in the physical tissue or inflammatory passageways in the pain processing parts of your brain, then you can feel pain…all over…all the time.
You cannot control it by doing various things, because nerves are just randomly firing or the brain is telling you that they are. This means that your brain gets pain signals all of the time, from everywhere.
This is a dangerous lifestyle to live, especially for someone who is adept at forming strong mental habits.
If your particular brand of Fibromyalgia is related to problems with processing pain in the brain, then more use of these neural pathways will create stronger mental habits of incorrectly processing pain.
This means that whatever small amounts of Fibromyalgia you had to begin with, if you have the capabilities of developing mental habits well, then you may find yourself in an extreme, chronic case of body-wide pain before you know it.
This also means that women who do not understand the underlying process of brain habit creation and reversal have a problem. This can contribute to those neural misfiring in their brain more and more each day.
The physical pain, whether it is created by inflammation in the brain processing areas or by inflammation or nerve misfiring in the muscle is still processed by these mental habits on a regular basis. That can lead to the problem increasing in the future, no matter where it is originated.
Because of the intense stress put on the body by this pain and these reactions to the pain, the woman is often highly fatigued and has a great deal of trouble sleeping.
These symptoms are very natural to people, both men and women, who have Fibromyalgia, and because the weight of blankets and clothing can make the already sensitive nerves go haywire, even sleeping, resting, or being dressed can be an arduous task. There is simply no rest from the pain and the random firing of the nerves, at this point.
Are these pain symptoms just part of being hypersensitive? Is it really that big of a deal?
The truth is that some of the symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia may seem like the person is being ultra-sensitive (often translated as ultra-picky), rather than experiencing severe chronic, radiating or sharp pain all over their body, every minute of every day.
Some of the symptoms even sound to other people like it’s not a big deal, symptoms like limb weakness, muscle spasms, skin tingling, sensitivity to even small tactile pressure, and palpitations.
Truthfully, these symptoms might be used to describe a highly dramatic elderly lady in a regency romance novel, rather than very real physical symptoms in today’s modern world.
Because the symptoms don’t sound very solid, many people may overlook them in themselves and especially have a certain amount of disdain for them in others. The reality for those who suffer from them is, in fact very strong and very solid.
As for it being a big deal, especially if you are not sure if these symptoms describe your current condition, remember that normal people do not experience any physical pain when they move about their lives.
They shouldn’t have to clench their teeth when they get dressed, or scrunch up their face when they roll over in bed underneath the covers.
Of course, uncontrolled twitching is not a normal part of everyone else’s lives, either. This means that, no matter how small the symptoms may seem when you sound them out loud, if they are real for you, they are real. They are as real as real can be.
And, furthermore, if these symptoms include loss of attention, cognitive dysfunction, and cognitive overload, you may end up a psychological patient, without any idea that you are actually suffering from a neurobiological problem.
Of course, in the case of causal depression or PTSD, you really are a psych patient, but in many other cases, you may be encountering some form of Fibromyalgia.
Does Fibromyalgia affect women different than men?
When it comes to stress, the bodies of men and women respond to physical and neural stress in different ways.
Because of the evolutionary and sociological differences between men and women, men are more likely to tense their “fighting” muscles, and experience increased pain in these areas, while women are more likely to “protecting” muscles, like their back, their should hunching abilities, their abdomen, and movements which reflect curling protectively around children.
Therefore, women in chronic pain are more likely to hunch over and have a rather rounded stature, while men become more angular and physically aggressive looking, in a stiff way, over time when dealing with Fibromyalgia.
In addition to these evolutionary differences, sociologically men and women handle stress in their brains and in their social groups differently, and these can produce highly varied results between the sexes.
In their brains, women tend to deal with stress in a very pragmatic, but still somewhat emotional, way. This means that, when confronted with individual situations, women are more likely to target specific problems and find ways of dealing with them.
However, when dealing with multiple sources of pain, especially if they are experiencing different types of pain, this can wear down their stamina pretty quickly.
With women, individual and specific problems are dealt with more easily, while multiple layers and types of pain produce a more irrational approach to problem solving.
In men, the situation can be reversed. Due to the sociological expectations placed upon men at a younger age in today’s modern world, men are far more likely to handle the problem as a whole much better than they are able to break multiple kinds of pain down into individual segments which can be addressed singularly and differently, according to each kind of pain.
This means that, sociologically speaking, if a man is suffering from multiple types of pain when dealing with Fibromyalgia, he may need help breaking down the overall situation into small segments, and he may need more assistance in addressing these individual segments in very different ways. It is not in a man’s nature to use multiple tools for what they perceive to be the same exact problem.
And now on to social groups…
Support group settings and social group interaction for the pain intensive individual.
The truth is that joining a support group may be somewhat counterproductive, to say the least. Because brain pathway inflammation relies upon similar thought patterns, focusing on your pain and on the difficult lifestyle you now have, even to a loving support group, may still contribute to your problems. Therefore, it may be wiser to simply engage in supportive social group interactions. How to men and women treat that subject differently?
With regard to pain, either sex may complain quite a bit. However, due to women’s natural long-term resilience, we are less likely to about long-term pain than our male counterparts, who are only used to short-term and short, intense pain from temporary injuries.
Therefore, even though women are nine times more likely to have Fibromyalgia than men are, women are the ones who are most likely to bear our pain in more silence when in public. Of course, that does not hold true in every case.
When among supportive social groups, men and women react to attempts to help in different ways. Contrary to popular opinions about fragile male egos, if a man has had Fibromyalgia for many years, he is very likely to accept help from other people.
However, there is a need to leverage the playing field, so to speak, and so he may offer to assist others with various projects and so on, if he feels that that would be an appropriate return act of gratitude.
Women, on the other hand, are more likely to accept help from other people without feeling the need to “repay” the act of kindness.
Therefore, other people may feel more gratified helping a man with this condition, but they may also feel like they can offer more assistance to a woman with this problem. Socially speaking, this all depends upon what the helper finds more fulfilling after their good deed is done.
In public, both men and women with Fibromyalgia may use wheelchairs or electric scooters to ease the pain of walking, brushing clothing when walking, and triggering any more nerve or neural activities than necessary.
However, there is a natural efficiency to the male brain which makes them more likely to use this option than women, simply because they can see the upside and may care slightly less about the opinions of other people when it comes to their new lifestyle change. This supposition is only based upon numbers at this point.
Interaction with friends is limited for either sex when Fibromyalgia sets in with any kind of heavy intent on remaining in their body.
This is because more movement involves more neural or nervous firing of the muscles or brain synapses, which in turn creates a higher likelihood of pain.
Therefore, people with Fibromyalgia are more likely to engage in social interaction which involves the least amount of body movement: such as using the internet a lot and having conversations over the phone, instead of going out and about as often as they might have done.
The causes for Fibromyalgia are complex. Sometimes, it can even be a combination of factors which produces this condition.
Since the causes can be physical, psychological, genetic, and/or environmental, physicians may have a hard time identifying all of the causes of Fibromyalgia in each, individual patient.
There are many cases in which a patient may have more than one cause which combined to make Fibromyalgia. This is particularly true with PTSD.
Because the physical pain is the body’s manifestation of the psychological suffering the individual is enduring, in addition to any physical trauma they sustained, Fibromyalgia can be directly related to more than one symptom of trauma manifesting itself at the same time in their system.
High stress for long periods of time, such as is the case with people who have suffered from emotional or physical abuse in the home for long periods of time, can bring about the first symptoms either during the abuse or soon after the abuse ends.
The difference between the two matters, for one is the body’s cry for help to other people who may not know about the abuse, while the other cause is based upon the individual’s ability to finally have relief from the abuse, which is where denial and repression may set in, thus triggering a physical reaction to the past.
In addition to causes which are psychologically or environmentally based, there are many physical reasons for Fibromyalgia setting into the body.
Inflamed brain neural pathways can trigger the sensation of being in pain, whether or not the body has sent any nerve responses to pain. And, another physical cause can be from the nerves themselves firing randomly throughout the body.
Often, this firing is done at the top peak of the nerve’s pain response, and so it can feel like thousands of little knives stabbing and cutting you at the same time.
This last cause is often the result of a joint being twisted and inflammation spilling out into the muscle, thus making the nerves randomly fire and which makes the pain so unmanageable at times, since you cannot simply make it go away by rearranging your body or making yourself more comfortable.
In conclusion, Fibromyalgia can have many different causes and can lead to similar, if somewhat varied, body pain responses. Also, it can be in either the brain or the body.
Fibromyalgia manifests in different people for starkly different reasons. When a war veteran comes home with shock in their system, the cause is pretty obvious.
However, many people have Fibromyalgia, and they are still to this day searching for all of the underlying reasons for their particular branding of pain.
If you ever meet someone who has this condition, please show them compassion and assist them in any way you can while your paths still meet.
It is a truly horrendous experience to go through and it may last until their death. With that in mind, know that their pain may not be obvious to you, but it is very real, indeed, to them.