Fibromyalgia is a common condition characterized by long-term, body-wide pain and tender points in joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. Fibromyalgia has also been linked to fatigue, morning stiffness, sleep problems, headaches, numbness in hands and feet, depression, and anxiety.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Is Fibromyalgia Cause by Emotional Stress?

A while back I posted about my thoughts on the causes of Fibromyalgia. To date, there still isn't a bonafide reason or cause for this chronic illness and after thinking about this for some time I have decided to try and accumulate some information and I could use your help.

This is not something that will be published or renowned as "the cause", but I am just very curious to dig a little deeper.

To repeat my thoughts on this, I still believe that fibromyalgia is the breaking down of the body due to an overtaxed brain that can no longer keep it's signals in order. We all know that fibromyalgia is due to a mixed signal in the brain that is telling our minds and bodies that we are experiencing exaggerated pain in our muscles. It is a very real pain and has affected some people so severely that it has completely changed their lifestyle.

OK, so if a person who is a nurturer by nature, is a possible people pleasing personality, is a dweller on certain situations trying to remedy them, is highly stressed emotionally, has learned to stuff many of their emotions rather than face confrontation or reaction, etc, then they are a prime target for a chronic illness such as fibromyalgia even if they have changed their behavior.

It takes years of emotional stress to start coming out in a physical way because the body isn't designed to hold it all in. It may come out in other ways such a low immune system, rashes, hair loss, allergies, sensitivities and so on, but it will come out eventually. I am wondering if fibromyalgia is the direct result of living a life such as I mention above as everyone I know who has this chronic problem also exhibits this type of personality.


For the most part, fibromyalgia primarily affects women and we have always been considered the emotional hub of the family. We are geared differently than most men and strive to keep the peace and harmony in our relationships and family and adding a career to the mix only compounds the problem.

Here are my questions to you:

1. Can you relate to any of these characteristics I mentioned? (it could be a behavior you have overcome, but had most of your life)

2. When did your fibromyalgia symptoms start? And did you experience other physical problems before?

3 Do you find that your fibro flares up when an emotionally taxing situation occurs?

4. Do you feel guilt about having this illness? (partially because no one really knows why we have it and many believe it doesn't really exist; partially because we can't function like we used to and it affects what we can and can't do.)

I would love to know if you or someone you know who has fibromyalgia has any of these traits. I would also love to hear from a man who has this illness and see what his take on it is.

If you are uncomfortable answering any of this on my blog, please feel free to email me your answers. This is not about specific names, but more of a compilation of information for me to better understand the origins of fibromyalgia.

I hope that you will take the time to comment as I would like to get back to you with my results.

Until next time :)

7 comments:

Dominique said...

1. No
2. After a car accident in the military.
3. Not really, but if I have a flareup, stress will make it worse.
4. No.

Christine Burgess said...

Thanks for your comments, Dominique.

marlene said...

1. Yes
2. During a time that I was going through private emotional trauma.
3. Yes
4. Yes

marla said...

I was in a stressful career and raising children on my own. My symptoms were probably always there but i ignored them. Once my children grew up and moved out of the house, i began to notice more pain and stiffness and some hip pain with everything i did. I also went through a really stressful 5 years or so of battleing the department of social services trying to get custody of my grandsons. i had a very close relationship with both of them. I lost of course and my heart broke. a year or so later, I was diagnosed with fibro. So i strongly feel that stress caused it.

Lynn Hutchinson said...

I have been having flare ups for sonetime and its getting worse. I was in a very stressful marriage for 23 yrs with 5 children and a husband who was very emotionaly abusive. I have triggers that set me back emotionaly and with that comes a lot of physical pain.

Lynn Hutchinson said...

I have been having flare ups for sonetime and its getting worse. I was in a very stressful marriage for 23 yrs with 5 children and a husband who was very emotionaly abusive. I have triggers that set me back emotionaly and with that comes a lot of physical pain.

lynn white said...

1- yes
2- 2011, Migraines, back problems, colitis
3- yes
4- yes

I am now 49 years old my symptoms of fybromyalgia started 4 years ago.
I can honestly say that I don't know if stress caused it but beyond a doubt I know that stress has contributed to the symptoms.
When things get stressful my whole body reacts. This is hard for me to understand because I was able to manage stress for so many years and keep going. I guess my body took all that it could and this is the end result.
Hope this helps.