Though millions of people around the world are suffering with Fibromyalgia, it is still one of the least understood health conditions especially prone to women. Meanwhile, there are all kinds of new products popping up each day that promise quick relief and even instant healing. But can Fibromyalgia really ever go away? As a wellness coach, nutritionist, Fibromyalgia specialist, and chronic illness thriver for the last 20 years, I’ll do my best to dive into this topic and offer helpful tips for you!
Before answering the question, “Does Fibromyalgia ever go away?”, it’s helpful to first look at some factors known to cause, trigger, or predispose someone to getting FMS. Understanding possible causes is important for knowing how to help reduce symptoms. There is not one known cause, but several possibilities. What IS known to be “true” about Fibromyalgia, it’s that there are a lot of unknowns! Plus FMS symptoms will present very differently from person to person. However, thanks to modern technology, genomics, brain scans, and other studies, there are factors known to predispose a person to developing FMS. Here are the top 10 known possible causes.
1. Genetics – If a relative or parent had Fibromyalgia, it’s more likely to develop the symptoms. How much of this is due to genetics versus environment could be a whole other topic that we won’t go into here. Researchers have in fact identified certain genes that are often found in people with FMS. It’s now possible to get tested for this, though results are not 100% accurate.
2. Trauma – It is very well known that many people develop Fibromyalgia and chronic pain after experiencing some kind of trauma. Trauma causes stress to the nervous system, and stress plays a bigger role than just about anything else when it comes to triggering FMS symptoms. There are some people who have developed FMS without having trauma, but the majority of the time people with Fibromyalgia have had some kind of trauma or major emotional stress in life.
3. Accidents and injuries – Sometimes an event like a car accident can cause an onset of FMS symptoms. It’s more likely some of the other indicators may be there as well, but there is still more to be known in this area.
4. A virus or illness – There are certain viral and bacterial infections that are often found in people who have Fibromyalgia. However, it’s not known if these are causative or just the result of a poorly functioning immune system that often is one of the symptoms of FMS.
5. Mental Illness – Often chronic pain, fatigue, and other FMS-like symptoms can be side effects of a mental illness like PTSD, depression or anxiety. At the same time, having a chronic illness is very stressful and can also contribute to causing mental illness. However, it IS believed that Fibromyalgia is NOT a mental illness. This is often misunderstood since some medications for mental illness have been found to reduce Fibromyalgia symptoms, though usually in smaller doses. Many other mental illness treatments like cognative behavior therapy are also known to help reduce FMS symptoms. These things relax the nervous system and impove a persons’s mental well-being, which almost always results in better physical health, too.
6. Brain Disorder – This is one of the more likely possibilities as a cause of Fibromyalgia. There are brain scans proving that certain areas of the brain become activated more strongly with mild pain stimulus for people with FMS than people who don’t have it. Therefore it is believed that if a person has FMS, her nervous system is more sensitive to stress and stimuli.
7. Sleep Disorder – There have also been many studies that verify how people with FMS don’t get the deeper levels of sleep needed. For example. . Also lack of sleep makes Fibromyalgia symptoms worse, because the body does almost all it’s healing and repair work during sleep. In fact one study took a group of people who did not have FMS, and had them go just 3 days without getting deep sleep. At the end of the 3 days, participants all experienced Fibromyalgia like symptoms.
8. Auto-immune Disorder – Fibromyalgia is NOT considered an auto-immune disorder. However, many of the FMS symptoms do mimic the symptoms of other auto-immune illnesses. Fibromyalgia symptoms are especially close to arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s Syndrome, and others. This is why it’s so important to get the right kinds of testing and see a knowledgable doctor. If you are diagnosed with FMS but have another kind of auto-immune illness, you could be getting the wrong kind of treatment.
9. Mold or Heavy Metal Exposure – the verdict is still out on whether or not exposure to molds, metals, and other toxic substances can cause FMS. However, many people with FMS do improve when they get tested and treated for these things, since this will help the immune system function more optimally.
10. Food Sensitivities – Since many people with Fibromyalgia experience digestive and gut problems like IBS, acid-reflux, or bloating and gas, many wonder if food allergies play a role. Food sensitivities have not been proven to cause FMS, however many people find that by making changes in their diet, getting rid of sugar, and eliminating high allergen foods like gluten, they feel better. Any person with any illness is likely to improve when they are eating the best foods for their body, so it’s definitely important to eat the best diet you can! Though food sensitivities don’t cause FMS, they certainly can flare up symptoms.
So now to answer to the question, “Does Fibromyalgia ever go away?”. The answer is that it’s not very likely that Fibromyalgia will go away on it’s own. There are occasional reports from women who have found that as they age, get pregnant, or go through other life transitions, their FMS symptoms may clear up, but this is pretty rare. Don’t let this discourage you, though! The good news is that with lifestyle changes and some well-known treatment strategies, it is very possible for Fibromyalgia SYMPTOMS to reduce significantly or even entirely! The real key is knowing your triggers! If you are not sure what triggers your symptoms, you can start keeping a journal and do some self-detective work. .
Most of the top Fibromyalgia experts agree that the number one thing someone with Fibromyalgia can do to help reduce symptoms and flare-ups is to live a healthier lifestyle. This doesn’t just mean just eating well and exercising more, though these things may help, too. It especially means learning how to reduce stress to the nervous system. As stated earlier, stress and sleep are the biggest known factors to worsening FMS symptoms. This is far easier said than done. Reducing stress is challenging for anyone, but especially a person who lives day to day with pain and fatigue! Remember too that stress doesn’t just come from factors “outside” us. It also comes from inside. Have you ever felt anxious while thinking about your health and noticed your heart racing or your shoulders hurting worse? Your own thoughts and emotions are triggering this nervous system response, constantly sending out chemical messengers to the rest of your body. Depending on if you are in a relaxed state or a stressed state, your brain is telling your body whether to relax and repair itself or whether to get ready to fight, flee, or freeze in the face of danger.
Thanks to the discovery of “neuroplasticity”, we now know for certain that the brain is able to change and evolve throughout our entire life span. So with practice, resources, and the plenty of support, you can start to shift your nervous system to a calmer state of being. .
So though Fibromyalgia doesn’t go away on it’s own, FMS SYMPTOMS can go away, and this is great news!! There have also been many people who, after clearing themselves of symptoms and flares, are able to go years and years with little or no indicators of having Fibromyalgia. Remember that the key to getting symptom-free is in taking whatever steps you can to reduce stress and live a healthy lifestyle. This is how you can master the skills of living and being WELL for your unique body, mind, and spirit! This requires taking an honest assessment of your health and lifestyle, being willing to grow and evolve yourself, and making a commitment to living a healthy lifestyle. Our better health requires taking 100% responsibility for how we feel and function each day. If you’d like to learn more about reducing your unique symptoms so you can feel GOOD in your body and live a life that is mostly or even entirely symptom-FREE, visit our website at www.bechronicallywell.com. Our mission is to end the stigma and mystery around Fibromyalgia while making hope and healing possible.
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