A Theory: Genetics

I know very little about genetics.  I don’t know if I’m smart enough to ever explore this thoroughly, but there are a few things that seem like common sense.  I’m not the only person in my family (on my dad’s side at least) with a chronic pain syndrome.  I’ve read that chronic pain does seem to run in families (see Buskila).  That would indicate to me that people with chronic pain can have a genetic predisposition.

Plain and simple?  No.  First of all, even if the genes that cause chronic pain can be identified, it doesn’t mean the disease can be eradicated.  Look at cancer.  Same problem. However, like cancer, maybe identifying a familial trait can help with early detection and prevention.  Nope, I don’t know how to do this, but it’s a question.

While chronic pain may run in families, it could be possible that it’s not a genetically predisposed issue.  Maybe we are taught to have pain.  If we grow up with a parent who is suffering from chronic pain, how likely are we to have chronic pain?  I don’t think this can explain all cases of chronic pain.  In my family, I was the first to have chronic pain (that I am aware of); others followed at older ages.  Maybe I taught them…

But the question I find most intriguing has to do with the genetic testing that I had done to find out why I react so badly to so many medications.  Four metabolic channels were tested when my doctors could not identify an antidepressant I could take without (or with minimal) side effects.  Of these four, one overreacted, one underreacted, one was completely defunct, and one was normal.  Therefore there are a lot of meds that I can’t take as usually prescribed.  I would either need a higher dose, a lower dose, or I shouldn’t take at all.  I know there are a lot more than four metabolic channels in the human body, but statistically with these four, I have a 3:4 chance of not being able to metabolize something.  I wonder, how many fibromyalgia patients have the same genetic predisposition to not being able to metabolize chemicals?  Would this difficulty in metabolizing translate to the chemicals that are associated with fibromyalgia, in particular serotonin, dopamine, and catecholamines (which would then implicate norepinephrine and epinephrine)?

If we are unable to metabolize properly these basic chemicals (which are related to pain suppression, sleep, enjoyment, excitement), and if this inability increases or intensifies with age, could that be a possible trigger for fibromyalgia?