In reference to the previous blog re childhood trauma actually affecting the physical development of the pain processing system, a friend very aptly asked, why doesn’t everyone who has physical or psychological trauma in their formative years develop a chronic pain disorder? Remember the tests that were reviewed in the article done on a LOT of poor little rats were not testing for the development of fibromyalgia in particular. If all chronic pain disorders are taken into account, including PTSD, CLBP, and a lot of other acronyms, the percentage increases drastically. However, I know it will not reach 100%. Why not?
I dunno. However, in the reading that I’ve done, there is a very strong genetic correlation to the risk factors for developing a chronic pain syndrome like fibromyalgia. I would have to dig around to see which alleles have been targeted (notice I just throw that term “allele” around like I understand it?) as indicating a risk factor. Of course nothing is definitive, but I wonder if you combine factors to create the perfect storm, you get chronic pain disorders.
For example, one set of researchers focused on preterm babies and the physical trauma they go through and how there is a probable connection to later pain disorders. They have actually been able to see (or hypothesize) what parts of the pain processing systems are messed up (if I’m reading correctly) by early childhood surgeries. Let’s say 100 babies are delivered prematurely, presumably with complications requiring surgery. At the outset, there is a 4% to 7% chance that they will develop fibromyalgia (the approximate percentage of the general population affected by it). Let’s say another 25% of the babies eventually develop a chronic pain disorder, whether fibro or other. That would leave a 68% to 71% of the 100 babies who would lead a “normal” life. Why? Perhaps the 29% to 32% have the genetic makeup to increase their risk, and which may even facilitate the abnormal development of their pain processing systems. Perhaps the 68% to 71% have a genetic makeup that either helps prevent the development of chronic pain or maybe is the foundation of a healthy pain processing system.
The opposite is the same: 100 full term babies with no or little trauma, physical or psychological, and 4% to 7% will probably develop a chronic pain disorder.
In short, like everything else about fibromyalgia, it would seem like no one particular cause can be pinpointed, but I’m kind of liking this bundle theory, for what that may be worth.