What Triggers Fibromyalgia

What Triggers Fibromyalgia

What Causes Fibromyalgia to Develop? – Possible Triggers

So, you have a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. But, what triggers fibromyalgia to develop in the first place? The understanding of this chronic pain condition has improved significantly over the last 10 years; however, the absolute cause is still unknown. There is no evidence for a single event that “causes” fibromyalgia. Instead, many physical and/or emotional stressors appear to trigger or aggravate symptoms. Triggers include physical and emotional trauma, stress, infections and vaccinations. 9.  The list below is from the NHS website, and gives some examples of possible triggers:

  • an injury
  • a viral infection
  • giving birth
  • having an operation
  • the breakdown of a relationship
  • being in an abusive relationship
  • the death of a loved one

There also appears to be genetic factors involved in triggering fibromyalgia; due to some people having genes that make them more likely to develop the condition. This means that immediate family members of fibromyalgia patients are at higher risk of developing fibromyalgia than the rest of the population. A list of the genes that appear to be associated with fibromyalgia can be found here. Unsurprisingly, I discovered that I have all but one of the genetic polymorphisms. A detailed description of the genetics of fibromyalgia will be provided at a later point.

nebula - what triggers fibromyalgia

Does Covid-19 trigger Fibromyalgia?

Post-acute COVID-19 syndrome (PACS), otherwise known as long-covid, occurs in some people following recovery from the virus. Research has really just started on this new phenomenon but the symptoms of PACS are very similar to fibromyalgia. Could it be the same thing? A recent study that surveyed people who had recovered from the virus, found that almost 30% of the respondents reported symptoms of fibromyalgia. The two biggest predictors of experiencing these symptoms were male gender and obesity. 10. Please note that the study did not include a control group to compare results. So, further research is required before any solid conclusions can be drawn. It does however add to the evidence that fibromyalgia can be triggered by viral infection. Although triggers can cause fibromyalgia to develop, they do not explain the underlying causes of the condition.

what triggers fibromyalgia

Next: What Causes Fibromyalgia?


9. Amsterdam, D. and Buskila, D., 2021. Etiology and Triggers in the Development of Fibromyalgia. In Fibromyalgia Syndrome (pp. 17-31). Springer, Cham.

10. Ursini, F., Ciaffi, J., Mancarella, L., Lisi, L., Brusi, V., Cavallari, C., D’Onghia, M., Mari, A., Borlandelli, E., Cordella, J.F. and La Regina, M., 2021. Fibromyalgia: a new facet of the post-COVID-19 syndrome spectrum? Results from a web-based survey. RMD open, 7(3), p.e001735.

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