Is Fibromyalgia Genetic?
Fibromyalgia is an extremely uncomfortable and painful condition, but people living with it know it is more than the physical pain. Fibromyalgia creates enormous levels of stress, mental tension and sadness, making this condition one that impacts both the physical and emotional well-being. So, we are going to answer the question, is fibromyalgia genetic?
Fibromyalgia is a complex condition, which makes it challenging for professionals and people alike to fully grasp all that the disease entails. One complicated aspect of fibromyalgia is the cause of the condition.
Some people believe that fibromyalgia is genetic, and others believe that the condition is caused by environmental issues, but which is it? Is fibromyalgia caused by a person’s biology or their life experiences?
Get the Fibromyalgia Facts
Fibromyalgia is a condition that has received a lot of attention and interest over the last decade. It seems that fibromyalgia is a condition that has burst into public knowledge over recent years, but the root of fibromyalgia has been around for hundreds of years.
As a chronic disorder, fibromyalgia’s most significant feature is widespread pain and tenderness. In most situations, fibromyalgia results in:
- Significant pain that is spread throughout the body
- Extreme fatigue and a loss of energy
- Limited mobility due to issues with the joints and soft tissue
- An inability to complete activities of daily like cooking and cleaning
Although fibromyalgia is a unique condition, it does share some similarities with arthritis like the ability to cause pain and fatigue. Conversely, fibromyalgia does not lead to inflammation, damage to the joints, or damage to muscles. Like arthritis, fibromyalgia can be quite a debilitating condition.
Other people will experience a greater list of fibro symptoms that includes a long list of complications associated with the condition like:
- Fibromyalgia fog that includes thinking and memory problems
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Morning stiffness
- Numbness in the hands or feet
- Pain during menstrual periods
- Restless leg syndrome
- Aversion to bright lights and loud noises
- Problems with sleep
- Sensitivity to temperature changes
Not everyone with fibro will experience all these symptoms, but many will note multiple fibromyalgia symptoms affecting their health and well-being.
When people talk about fibromyalgia pain, they may use the terms tender points and trigger points, but what is the difference between the two?
Genetics and Fibromyalgia
People want to know more about their fibromyalgia. They want to know where fibromyalgia comes from, what causes it and why they have developed the condition while others do not.
Like so many conditions, the basis of fibromyalgia is not clear. Rather than being only caused by genetic issues or only caused by environmental factors, it appears that a combination of hereditary and environmental issues triggers the condition.
Some environmental or life experiences that could result in fibromyalgia include:
- Living through an event or series of events that were extremely stressful or traumatic. In these situations, the stress could have been physical or mental in nature.
- Repetitive physical injuries. These injuries could be to the same part of the body or in separate locations.
- Numerous illnesses. If a person has had a series of illnesses, it could increase the risk for fibromyalgia emerging.
People with other conditions that create chronic pain are more prone to fibromyalgia. Some of the coexisting chronic pain issues include:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel syndrome
- Interstitial cystitis
- Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ)
The relationship between fibromyalgia and these conditions is not obvious. It could be that they produce fibromyalgia, fibromyalgia creates them, or that somehow, they trigger each other.
What researchers do know is that there is a genetic connection with fibromyalgia. This link means that you have a greater risk of the condition if a family member has it, and in turn, family members have a greater risk if you have it.
At this point, experts do not understand the extent of the genetic components, but during your evaluation, they will always inquire about the health of your family to gather more information about the fibromyalgia association. Gathering this family history helps build a more complete grasp of your condition and the best ways to improve symptoms.
Best Fibromyalgia Treatments
There is nothing simple and straightforward about this condition, so you cannot expect treatment options to be clear. In fact, there are many fibro treatments, which are separated into three categories.
Drugs for fibromyalgia include ones based on antidepressants, painkillers, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Not all people will find success with each type of drug, which means you will have to work with your prescriber and experiment with drugs from different classes to find a winning combination.
How you live your life will significantly impact your fibromyalgia symptoms. By changing your eating, sleeping, exercise, and work habits, you can dramatically improve your condition.
For people interested in unconventional fibromyalgia treatments, there are several alternative treatments like:
- Herbal remedies and supplements
- Chiropractic options
Perhaps the best news with fibromyalgia treatment options is that no one has to choose only one option. You can utilize medications, lifestyle changes, and alternative treatments simultaneously to achieve the results you seek. As with all treatments, be sure to consult your medical team before making any changes to your strategies to manage fibromyalgia.