After decades of struggling to identify a cause, researchers have identified certain changes in nervous system function that are likely to be the cause of fibromyalgia. These changes, which occur as the result of a process known as central sensitization, cause fibromyalgia patients to experience pain more intensely than they had before.
People with fibromyalgia also tend to experience other symptoms, such as chronic fatigue and difficulty concentrating (“fibro fog”). While we still need more research, many promising studies have shown that these same changes in nervous system function are likely to be the cause of these symptoms as well.
I personally struggled with chronic pain for over a decade, but never thought I had fibromyalgia because I was never diagnosed by a doctor. Somehow, despite the numerous specialists I saw, I never actually found a doctor who believed fibromyalgia was a real condition. It’s only now, in my 30’s, that I’m realizing how ridiculous that is.
I write about that realization in my post So… I think I *do* have fibromyalgia, after all.
Despite this, I think I’ve still had many of the treatments offered to fibromyalgia patients (specifically, I’ve tried just about all of the medications). That’s something I address in this post: Do you need to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia to be successfully treated?
And I’ve still made a ton of progress in learning to cope with my pain. Even without a fibro diagnosis, I’ve learned to make peace with my body, and not fight my pain, through pain neurophysiology education.
So in some ways, this is really just about a name change. It’s about taking myself seriously, and believing that, despite doctors not believing in fibromyalgia, I deserve answers.
Here are a few posts I’ve written that begin to look at the science behind fibromyalgia, and where we stand in terms of developing treatments.
- History of fibromyalgia as a diagnosis
- Inflammation, Fibromyalgia, and Deceptive Marketing Tactics
- Someday there could be a test for fibromyalgia
I hope my writing is helpful for you!