I have noticed that in the past few years, more and more people are being diagnosed with fibromyalgia after suffering a severe injury on the job. From my research, I can only speculate that this is because doctors and medical experts are only recently beginning to uncover the mysteries surrounding fibromyalgia. The one consistency that I have found is that women are at a higher risk of developing fibromyalgia than men (7 to 10 times more likely, depending on which study you read).
What is Fibromyalgia Syndrome?
“A syndrome is a set of symptoms. When they exist together, they imply the presence of a specific disease or a greater chance of developing the disease. With fibromyalgia syndrome, the following symptoms commonly occur together:”
- Anxiety or depression
- Decreased pain threshold or tender points
- Incapacitating fatigue
- Widespread pain
“Investigators are constantly looking at various explanations for the occurrence of fibromyalgia. Some, for example, are exploring hormonal disturbances and chemical imbalances that affect nerve signaling. Other experts believe fibromyalgia with its deep muscle pain is linked to stress, illness, or trauma. Still others think there is a hereditary cause or say there is no explanation at all. But while there is no clear consensus about what causes fibromyalgia, most researchers believe fibromyalgia results not from a single event but from a combination of many physical and emotional stressors.”
Other Theories About Causes of Fibromyalgia
“Some have speculated that lower levels of a brain neurotransmitter called serotonin leads to lowered pain thresholds or an increased sensitivity to pain. It’s associated with a calming, anxiety-reducing reaction. The lowered pain thresholds in fibromyalgia patients may be caused by the reduced effectiveness of the body’s natural endorphin painkillers and the increased presence of a chemical called “substance P.” Substance P amplifies pain signals.”
“There have been some studies that link fibromyalgia to sudden trauma to the brain and spinal cord. Keep in mind, though, theories about what causes fibromyalgia are merely speculative.”
Fibromyalgia syndrome is a very complex syndrome and can present itself in many different ways. It can take months, or in some cases years, for a patient to be properly diagnosed. If you are dealing with fibromyalgia as the result of a work injury, you should most definitely seek the advice of an experienced attorney who has dealt with this syndrome before.
(Source – www.webmd.com)
If you would like more information on the Virginia workers’ compensation system, order my book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia,” or call our office today (804) 755-7755.
Michele Lewane, Esq.