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Depression and Fibromyalgia

Updated on September 5, 2012

Chronic Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a medical disorder that is known as a syndrome. While the symptoms are usually chronic pain and being extremely sensitive to pressure, usually diagnosing fibromyalgia is a diagnosis of exclusion.

Many individuals with the syndrome have reported symptoms such as chronic fatigue, sleeping disturbances, depression, chronic pain and other related symptoms.

While not all individuals diagnosed with the disorder experience the same symptoms, it is often seen with depression and anxiety, leading doctors to believe that the two are related in some way.

Most of the individuals diagnosed with fibromyalgia are females, with only about 10% male. In an effort to learn more about the disease and its causes, doctors and scientists have studied the brains of their patients with fibromyalgia. The scans have shown a structural difference when compared to healthy individuals. Many doctors believe that the differences are the result of childhood stress of prolonged stress at any point in life.

Yoga Helps Pain
Yoga Helps Pain
Laser Light Therapy
Laser Light Therapy

While there is currently no cure for the condition, some treatments in clinical trials have been effective at reducing symptoms. There are some medications that can be effective, chiropractic care and low level exercise seems to also alleviate the pain and sensitivity.

Yoga and meditation have been proven to help decrease pain. By practicing yoga, the stretching helps to break up the scar tissue build ups throughout the body.

Meditation on the other hand helps with relaxation and helps reduce stress and anxiety.

There are also many different devices that are used in treating the symptoms of fibromyalgia including TENS units, Laser therapy, Chiropractor adjustments and more...

Chronic Pain
Chronic Pain

While this syndrome is recognized as a disorder by the National Institute of Health, it is described as a central sensitization syndrome which is caused by neurological abnormalities. The difference in brain structure may be the cause of the pain.

Despite the fact that it is a recognized disorder, some health care providers are still not willing to accept that fibromyalgia is a disease. Since there is not a way to physically see the disease and no objective diagnostic test, it can be difficult to convince these health care providers to see otherwise.

Many people wonder, what causes depression in fibromyalgia patients?

The short answer is that it is somewhat unknown, although researchers do have some educated beliefs that may prove to be true in the coming years. About three in every ten people with the disease also are diagnosed with depression at the time of their diagnosis.

Some scientists believe that depression changes the brain chemistry, actually altering the way that the brain functions. Others believe that that depression triggers the sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for dealing with stress and heightened awareness. They believe that the changes in the sympathetic nervous system may lead to the release of hormones and other signaling molecules in the body that cause widespread pain.

The bottom line is that it doesn't really matter because it is just a fact that when you suffer from chronic pain and fatigue and all of the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia depression can settle in.

It gets old feeling tired and in pain all the time. Depression is just a part of the cycle. With these symptoms being chronic, there are many new medications that have been developed that not only help with pain but help with the depression as well.

Since the stress from fibromyalgia may cause anxiety and social isolation, the depression may be physiological or based in the social problems that are felt by those who have the disease. Either way, treating depression is much easier today, and talking with a doctor about symptoms and problems can help to alleviate the situation.

Living with fibromyalgia can be difficult. However, as scientists and doctors learn more about the disease, an effective cure or treatment may be closer than previously thought. There are many people eager to study and learn more about the disease, giving a hopeful future to those with the disorder.


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    • ahagen profile image


      6 years ago from Topeka Kansas

      Yoga and meditation are great in addition to or as an alternative to medication. I am a distributor for Livinity health and wellness products and our medical director actually developed natural products for chronic pain. He "prescribes" the Livinity products to his own patients. If you want to try something natural go to or email me at

    • Matt Edmondson profile image

      Matt Edmondson 

      6 years ago from Tucson, AZ

      I think you nailed it with the yoga comment CZCZCZ. I've recently started a workout routine that incorporates warmup stretches and cool down stretches and it's amazing how much better I feel.

      I've always heard that I should stretch and meditate but never really took the time. I'm sorry I waited this long to start.

    • CZCZCZ profile image


      6 years ago from Oregon

      I'm a big believer in stretching and using yoga exercises to relieve pain, great hub and ideas for helping the problem.

    • mreynolds4 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      thanks. I have it too and my 2 daughters and my mom as well. We use meds too but just know that there are other things that help.

    • kat11 profile image


      6 years ago from Illinois

      Great hub and a lot of useful information. My younger sister has fibromyalgia so I know she uses meditation to relieve stress and anxieties. Voted up


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