What Causes Fibromyalgia

The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but research suggests that it may be a result of a combination of factors, including:

  1. Genetics: Fibromyalgia tends to run in families, and there may be certain genetic mutations or variations that increase the risk of developing the condition.
  2. Physical or emotional trauma: Fibromyalgia may be triggered by physical or emotional trauma, such as an injury, infection, surgery, or a stressful event.
  3. Abnormal pain processing: People with fibromyalgia may have an increased sensitivity to pain due to changes in the way their brain and spinal cord process pain signals.
  4. Neurotransmitter imbalances: There may be imbalances in certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which can affect mood, pain perception, and sleep.
  5. Sleep disturbances: Sleep problems are common in people with fibromyalgia, and sleep deprivation can worsen pain and other symptoms.
  6. Infections. Some illnesses appear to trigger or aggravate fibromyalgia.

Risk factors

Risk factors for fibromyalgia include:

  • Your sex. Fibromyalgia is diagnosed more often in women than in men.
  • Family history. You may be more likely to develop fibromyalgia if a parent or sibling also has the condition.
  • Other disorders. If you have osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, you may be more likely to develop fibromyalgia.


The pain, fatigue, and poor sleep quality associated with fibromyalgia can interfere with your ability to function at home or on the job. The frustration of dealing with an often-misunderstood condition also can result in depression and health-related anxiety.

It’s important to note that fibromyalgia is a complex condition, and the underlying causes may be different for each individual. Effective treatment often involves a combination of medications, lifestyle changes, and therapies to address the multiple factors that contribute to the condition.