How Are Stress and Fibromyalgia Related?
It seems like my fibromyalgia symptoms get worse when I'm stressed out. Am I just imagining things? What is the relationship between stress and fibromyalgia?
For quite some time, fibromyalgia was considered simply the body's response to psychological stress -- in other words, the symptoms of fibromyalgia were merely a physical manifestation of psychological stress. Thus, fibromyalgia was considered a condition that was "all in one's head" and often dismissed as a nonmedical condition.
Although researchers still believe that fibromyalgia may be strongly linked to stress, they are studying possible physical, chemical reasons why that might occur. For instance, some research suggests that people with this condition may release inadequate amounts of hormones in response to stress.
In addition, being exposed to physically or emotionally stressful or traumatic events, such as a car accident, surgery, or being deployed to war, may be a risk factor for developing fibromyalgia.
If you have fibromyalgia, it is certainly worth trying to reduce stress in your life, if possible. Perhaps you will notice an improvement in symptoms. However, you might find that your symptoms are entirely unaffected by a low-stress lifestyle, in which case other treatment approaches should be considered.