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Sleep Problems Contribute to Fibromyalgia

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The causes of fibromyalgia remain somewhat mysterious. People who have this condition often complain of pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. Sensitive points are frequently found on the back, shoulders and neck. Now Norwegian investigators are pointing to sleep problems as a contributing factor in fibromyalgia.

The researchers tracked over 12,000 women over a decade. At the beginning of the study none of the women complained of symptoms suggestive of fibromyalgia. By the end of the trial, however, over 300 women had been diagnosed with this condition. Those who reported difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep were much more likely to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Whether correcting the sleep problems would reduce the risk of developing fibromyalgia has yet to be determined.

[Arthritis & Rheumatism, November 2011]

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I have been "officially" diagnosed with fibromyalgia for about 5 years now. But, figured out on my own, about 15 years ago, just what the problem was. After a great deal of research on my part, I found info and made my own observations about it. I do not believe sleep problems bring on fibro, it is a symptom of the disorder.

The disorder effects people differently, not all sufferers have sleep problems. I have and have had problems sleeping for years. I never dreamed for 20 years! Never got down into REM sleep to dream. Never stayed asleep, up and down all night, etc. I truly believe you are born with a pre-disposition to the disorder and that it may run in families. I believe it takes a "trigger" to bring it on, such as physical or psychological trauma, ie.... rape, child molestation, major injury, surgery, major illness, etc.

I have come a long way since then and have seen some improvement with natural alternatives to all the prescriptions they usually hand out to those suffering, if anyone acknowledges it at all. I spent many years being told it was all in my head and there was NO reason to hurt there, etc. So, I am very skeptical of some of the findings I see about the disorder. I hope someday they can figure it out. I believe one of my sons and my granddaughter may have it as well.

Hmmm, do we have a chicken & egg situation here? The fibromyalgia causing the sleep problems or the sleep problems encouraging the fibromyalgia?

Have there been any studies that would rule out some of the microinfections such as Lyme disease? From what I have read some of these critters can live without cell walls and get inside the cells. The course of treatment is rather long term and rigorous; it requires antibiotics (older versions) over a long period of time and rotated so that the critters don't build up an immunity. Apparently Lyme isn't the only culprit.

As a Craniosacral therapist I have treated a number of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue suffers. I have found that 99% of them were abused as children. Physical and emotional abuse and sexual abuse in childhood play an important role in the state of health of adults.

Terrence, you have a good point but I think there are a lot of adults out there who were abused as children without major illnesses.

There has to be some other complicating factor such as trauma or as I noted above some sort of infection. As a Crainosacral guy I'm sure you are aware that trauma to the head could also be a factor. Probably a combination of several factors that the body simply could no longer handle.

HI Everyone,
I find this info very interesting.. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 1990. I have heard that this might be caused by trauma and I have also heard it could be from having a virus. I have had both of these. I have had 3 concussions and have had quite a few falls from horses. What I find interesting is that in 1985 while living in Aspen, Co I got an intestinal illness. I also had a bad fall off of a horse.

I started getting sick in 1988. Since then I have found out that 4-5 of my friends that I hung out with in Aspen also have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. 4 other friends from that time have died of brain tumors.. I live in Austin, Tx and I'm wondering if that Craniosacral therapy might be of help to me. Thanks! Lisa

Hi! I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 1996 and here is my theory on what causes it. 1) Chronic sinus infections 2) Being a very light sleeper all my life 3) 3 rear end collisions that caused trauma to my neck and 4) A bad case of mono that weakened my immune system. I tend to catch everything and not get over it very quickly. I have a lot of environmental allergies and sinus and migraine headaches. I have had sinus surgery which helped a lot.

I believe that my Mother had FMS as well and it went undiagnosed. FMS mimics other diseases and there is not a blood test to diagnose FMS. My doctor diagnosed me on the first visit - pending the bloodwork which all came back negative for Lupus and RA. Soaking in Epsom Salt every day, resting when I need too, Aspercreme rubbed on the hurting spots and heat packs have enabled me to function without many meds. Barametric changes cause flare-ups as well as migraines. My faith in the Lord and having a wonderful family has carried me through the past 16 years of FMS.

People with FMS tend to be low in magnesium (this can also cause migraines). Stretching every morning to get through the stiffness helps. Also, I have had to learn to say "No" when my calendar is already full. A good mattress also helps with the pain as well as good pillows. I am blessed and this has given me a greater compassion for those who are sick and a closer walk with the Lord. I pray for the Lord to richly bless all who have this and give them strength daily.

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