Studies done on the impact of early life events have become to really blossom over the past few years.
Measuring how early childhood helps to shape a person’s long-term physiology and their behavior has been constantly under review.
The fibromyalgia disorder can be explained as a disorder that increases the pain sensitivity of those it affects in addition to a number of other co-morbidities. The root cause or beginning of the disorder is still unknown in the world of medicine.
The causes or factors that may affect the development of fibromyalgia have not been verifiably identified. Many theories exist, but none have the necessary amount of evidence to be proven as undeniable fact. The disorder currently affects over two percent of the population and is more commonly found in women that it is men.
The symptoms often associated with fibromyalgia include muscular stiffness, chronic fatigue, mood disturbances, sleeping disorder such as insomnia, and tenderness of specific locations on the body. There a several risk factors that have been documented by pathophysiologies that may lead to the development of fibromyalgia later in life.
One of the risk factors that has been under quite a bit of examination is painful experiences that are felt during the infancy stage. These experiences of pain could cause long-lasting alteration in the processing of pain by the brain. Infants that are born with illnesses or under tremendous birthing stresses, such as being born prematurely or in need of immediate surgery, may have to be hospitalized for their treatments.
In the clinical stages of neonatal intensive care, newborns can be subject to many painful procedures that have the possibility of being performed daily with routine monitoring.
Additionally, during these stages, newborns that need to be hospitalized could face up to fourteen very painful procedures per day. One recent study showed the these newborns faced a daily average of sixteen painful or stressful procedure per day and that close to 80 percent of those newborn were not given the proper analgesia for these types of procedures.
Due to the high frequency of these procedures that could last months, the children are affected negatively and may see significant changes in their brains processing of pain. These abnormalities could possibly explain the abnormal processing of pain in patients with fibromyalgia.
Physiological disturbances can be prevented if the necessary pain management techniques are afforded to neonatal patients. Because neonates cannot afford the doctor tending to them their pain levels or what they are experiencing, pain management can be quite difficult to accomplish.
The treatments that are available today include morphine and some benzodiazepines that can be used for pain experienced after surgery and for general sedation for neonates. There are some nonpharmacological techniques that could be administered to neonates including sucrose.
However, the effect of these techniques on long-term chronic exposure to them has not been studies in very much depth. It can still be argued that adequate amounts of pain management for neonates may be able to reduce various types of pain syndromes, including fibromyalgia, later in childhood and adult life.
There are some detailed tests and experiments that highlight maternal deprivation as a major risk factor the future development of fibromyalgia. The child and the quality of his or her relationship with the primary caregiver, often the mother, will dictate the emotional reactivity of the child throughout their life and the type of attachments that will be created with others.
A secure bond between mother and child has been proven to be very beneficial to the development of an infant by many studies. Disordered attachment styles, studies suggest, have a consistent link between chronic pain and issues of coping with chronic pain. In some studies, chronic pain patients that have rather high levels of what is called avoidant attachment tended to score pain intensity more highly.
Patients with fearful attachments styles tended to showcase higher levels of pain unbearable in some cases. Adults with secure attachment styles taking acute pain tests tended to rate their pain levels as “less intense.” Secure attachment styles’ formation has been theorized to be directly linked to the opioidergic and dopamine system, a link that suggests that when a parent and infant are securely attached, the child could be protected against the development of fibromyalgia when they get older.
Physical and Pschological Trauma in Early Childhood
Many studies have claimed that children that were subjected to physical and sexual abuse were exposed to the development of fibromyalgia. These forms of early life abuse, and early life abuse in general, often will burden those individuals that suffer through them with a number of behavioral problems and types of pathological issues. Issues such as heavy depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, alcoholism, obesity, and even suicide, are common results associated with early life abuse.
It could be by coincidence, but these same problems are found and often attributed to fibromyalgia. There have been studies that have found a link between the impacts of early abuse in childhood and other early traumas and their contribution to fibromyalgia. These links can be found in the disruption of neurotransmitter systems that will impact how well someone is able to manage stress.
When considering these connections between early childhood traumas, abuses, neonatal complications, and the bonds shared between a child and his or her caretaker, and fibromyalgia, there is much to be discussed. While the evidence has not been mounted to a point where any of these theories can be proven as facts, the studies and the connections drawn in the studies can serve as the basis or starting points for several other studies and tests to be done in the future.
The search for the primary factors in the development of the fibromyalgia disorder is constantly pressing forward. Researchers are working tirelessly to find answers to the questions those individuals suffering from fibromyalgia are asking. Once the causes of fibromyalgia have been identified, then researchers will possibly be able to develop a cure the disorder.