Sure Signs You Have Fibromyalgia Like Lady Gaga
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In 2017, Lady Gaga shared on Twitter that she has fibromyalgia and “wished to raise awareness” for the debilitating condition. Since then she’s rescheduled tours due to the severe nerve pain she suffers from fibromyalgia and revealed to Vogue, “I get so irritated with people who don’t believe fibromyalgia is real,” the singer said. “For me, and I think for many others, it’s really a cyclone of anxiety, depression, PTSD, trauma, and panic disorder, all of which sends the nervous system into overdrive, and then you have nerve pain as a result.” And she’s not alone.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fibromyalgia affects roughly four million American adults–an estimated 2 percent of the U.S. population. At times, it can be hard to diagnose because its symptoms mimic other diseases. Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes sleep problems and widespread pain throughout the body that can severely interrupt a person’s daily activities and lifestyle.
What Causes Fibromyalgia?
Dr. Jacob Hascalovici, the Chief Medical Officer with Clearing, a telehealth platform for chronic pain patients says, “Some people who develop fibromyalgia may have experienced a physically or emotionally traumatic event. For others, fibromyalgia may appear without any discernible ‘trigger’ event. Previous infections appear to increase the risk of developing fibromyalgia, and the risk may also be higher when the body becomes very sensitized to pain and to have to deal with pain triggers and memories of pain.”
Board-certified internist Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, bestselling author of From Fatigued to Fantastic! says, “CFS, and its painful cousin fibromyalgia (CFS/FMS), represents an energy crisis that trips a key circuit breaker in the brain called the hypothalamus. This controls sleep, hormones, and autonomic function, so the circuit breaker going off-line causes widespread dysfunction and is often crippling. Anything that causes people to spend more energy than they can make (including viral and other infections, including COVID) can trip the hypothalamic circuit breaker and trigger CFS/FMS.”
Dr. Andrew Neville, ND, one of the top experts in fibromyalgia and Adrenal Fatigue explains, “Ultimately, it’s a dysfunction of the Stress Response System, and it starts in the adrenals. Cortisol, your main stress hormone, serves as your body’s primary anti-inflammatory function. Your adrenal glands produce that cortisol. If the adrenals are taxed, and you cannot produce adequate anti-inflammatory cortisol, you will be overly inflamed. Inflammation causes pain.
Chronic inflammation also acts as additional biochemical stress, which perpetuates the entire body’s dysfunction and causes it to over-perceive its environment. This is called ‘Central Sensitization.’ If this continues to occur over time, it develops into chronic pain and/or chronic fatigue for others. This is often diagnosed as Fibromyalgia.”
Megan Anderson, APN Nurse Practitioner at The California Center for Functional Medicine says, “A lot of newer research has shown that many of the symptoms in fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) are caused by antibodies that increase the activity of pain-sensing nerves throughout the body. The results show that fibromyalgia is a disease of the immune system, rather than the currently held view that it originates in the brain.
One study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation demonstrated that the increased pain sensitivity, muscle weakness, reduced movement, and reduced number of small nerve fibers in the skin that are typical of FMS, are all a consequence of patient antibodies. From a functional medicine lens, we tend to view it as a syndrome that falls somewhere along the autoimmune spectrum and likely has multiple triggers, and therefore multiple ways to potentially address it.”
Widespread Muscular Pain for Three Months or More
“Fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, so you might have fibromyalgia if you’re suffering from widespread muscular pain,” says Dr. Hascalovici.
Dr. Teitelbaum says, “Most of you have likely noticed that after a workout, when energy levels in the muscles are low, your muscles go tight rather than loose and limp. This is because it takes more energy to relax a muscle than to contract it. The energy crisis in fibromyalgia causes chronic muscle shortening and secondary widespread pain. When the muscle pain becomes long-term, it triggers secondary brain pain (called central sensitization and nerve pain.”
Gita Castallian, MPH Public Health Analyst at The California Center for Functional Medicine states, “The main sign of fibromyalgia is pain and tenderness in muscles and joints throughout the body, often ranging and roaming over time. This is an indicator of fibromyalgia when the pain lasts for three months or longer and typically becomes chronic. It is often described as a constant, dull, and widespread ache and often worsens after too much activity, poor sleep, not enough exercise, stress, and weather changes. Some people with fibromyalgia describe the pain as stabbing, shooting, throbbing or aching.”