The Connection Between Fibromyalgia and Unresolved Emotional Issues
The causes of fibromyalgia remain shrouded in mystery, but the good news is that medical research keeps revealing new avenues to explore and giving indications of what brings about this condition.
Although patients cannot pinpoint any specific factor or cause for the onset of fibromyalgia, there appears to be a shared trait among some individuals who deal with this illness. Trauma and unresolved psychological issues, whether stemming from adulthood or childhood, might hold a clue.
A different neurological “wiring”
To gain an understanding of how physical or psychological trauma relates to this issue, one has to look at the opioid receptors in the brain. These receptors are responsible for processing pain. Interestingly enough, they vary greatly in fibromyalgia patients as compared to anyone else. There are less opioid receptors in the brains of those who suffer from fibromyalgia that can process the emotional factor of pain. This means that the brain experiences an imbalance when it comes to dealing with pain, and this may be ascribed to some sort of injury or trauma that took place in the past. Thus, fibromyalgia might be the result of an alteration to the central nervous system that facilitates an intensified response to pain.
There are different kinds of trauma that can bring about this lack of neurological balance that triggers the onset of fibromyalgia. These types include:
- Chronic stress during childhood
- Extreme Emotional Pain
- Catastrophic events such as natural disaster or war
Correlation with childhood stress
Childhood trauma and stress have been often ignored as possible causes or contributors to the onset of chronic diseases. However, researchers are now looking closely at these factors and how they relate to the health and well-being during adulthood. Some conditions that are being scrutinized for a connection with childhood stress are:
And looking at a patient’s experience during the childhood and adolescent years makes perfect sense considering how much neurological development takes place during that time span. As a person goes through childhood, the brain undergoes a constant process of neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity occurs when new neuro pathways are created as a reaction to outside stimuli. Basically, new pathways develop when a person experiences anything that appeals to the senses and/or emotions in a positive or negative manner. When a child is exposed to trauma or is abused or neglected, the advancement of these pathways is severely impeded if he or she does not have a stable support system that facilitates healing and promotes resilience. Without the appropriate guidance and support, the brain does not learn the necessary response or coping skills. The stimuli is processed in a negative manner or worse, not even processed at all, as in the case of “blocking out” memories.