I just read an article about the possible genetic link to fibromyalgia (and other chronic pain syndromes). This is a slightly older article (Buskila et al, see library), so it will be interesting to find more up-to-date information. I do NOT assert that I understood all of the 5-HTTLPR and T102C and polymorphisms and everything they go on about….
There does seem to be a genetic predisposition to chronic pain in families. Most of the study subjects come from families with multiple cases of chronic pain, either diagnosed or undiagnosed. Interestingly, this includes not just fibromyalgia, but chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, and gulf war syndrome (or more generally post-traumatic disorder). In other words, there seems to be a genetic predisposition that dictates how our bodies will handle physical and emotional stress.
This makes perfect sense to me. I’m not the only member of my family with a chronic pain syndrome. I’m just the loudest.
However, simple genetic predisposition is not a guarantee of being affected by these chronic pain disorders. It seems like the genes may be the bullet in the chronic pain gun, but environmental factors may be the firing mechanism, which may explain better why families have multiple cases of chronic pain. In other words, people with the genes need a trigger. My question becomes what are these external factors that can trigger fibromyalgia? Exposure to toxic environments or chemicals? Are people with these genes more susceptible to toxicity? Can the trigger be emotional or psychological? Extreme stress? Yes…?