Fibromyalgia has no known cause, but it may be triggered by a stressful event.
Symptoms of the condition consist of widespread pain across the body, poor quality sleep and stiffness in the joints, among others, which can lead to people assuming they have arthritis.
The symptoms can sometimes flare-up, according to Arthritis Research UK, which says that some people find the pain worse in very hot cold or damp weather.
“People with fibromyalgia often say that fatigue is the worst part of the condition and that they can’t seem to think clearly or remember things properly,” added the charity on its website.The NHS recommends not ignoring viral infections, as these may be a trigger of the condition.
Fibromyalgia can prevent you from sleeping deeply and cause fatigue. People with the condition who sleep badly can all have higher levels of pain, suggesting that these sleep problems contribute to the other symptoms of fibromyalgia.
“Fibromyalgia is often triggered by a stressful event, including physical stress or emotional stress,” says the NHS on its website.
“Possible triggers for the condition include, a viral infection.”
Viral infections occur when a virus manages to infect a part of the body.
A 2012 study, published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, found that 57 per cent of fibromyalgia sufferers also had a chronic hepatitis C virus infection.
“This study reveals a high prevalence of fibromyalgia among subjects with chronic hepatitis C virus infection, one third of whom reported some degree of functional impairment,” wrote lead author Ausaf Mohammad and other scientists involved in the study.
Fibromyalgia: Viral infections may trigger the condition
Fibromyalgia: The condition can cause pain all across the body
Fibromyalgia may be caused by a change in the central nervous system that heightens pain perception, according to Healthline.
The condition can be brought on by several triggers including emotional stress, physical trauma or infection.
Hormone problems may also be a risk factor, as levels of hormones involved in mood, appetite, sleep, behaviour, and your response to stressful situations are low in sufferers.
The NHS recommends that you should consider injury, giving birth, having an operation, breakdown of a relationship, being in an abusive relationship and the death of a loved one, as possible triggers of fibromyalgia.
“However,” continues the NHS, “in some cases, fibromyalgia doesn’t develop after any obvious trigger.”
Fibromyalgia: Chronic Hepatitis C viral infections may trigger the condition
Other causes of the condition include disturbed sleep patterns, and genetics.
“Fibromyalgia can prevent you from sleeping deeply and cause fatigue,” said the NHS.
“People with the condition who sleep badly can all have higher levels of pain, suggesting that these sleep problems contribute to the other symptoms of fibromyalgia.
“Research has [also] suggested that genetics may play a small part in the development of fibromyalgia, with some people perhaps more likely than others to develop the condition because of their genes.”
Fibromyalgia is a serious condition that can force people into early retirement, according to FMA UK, a society aiming to raise awareness of the condition nationally.