Is Fibromyalgia Neurological Illness Or Autoimmune Illness

Is Fibromyalgia Neurological Illness Or Autoimmune Illness


With all the anecdotal evidence with Lyrica, Neurotin and anti seizure medicines being used so frequently, I assume fibro is a neurological illness, or an illness with a large neurological component. Those stating that it is an autoimmune illness seems to be making that claim to sell home remedy and herbs.

Top Ten Search Results of The three sets of keywords:

No ad results were used. Only clicked on what appears to be an article on the topic of the keyword entered. The first set of keywords used was “fibromyalgia autoimmune illness” and the second set of keywords was “fibromyalgia Neurological Illness”. This is not a scientific study by any means, but it does create more compelling evidence as to whether fibromyalgia is neurological disorder or an autoimmune disorder.

Conclusion: I read twenty articles and of them comes the following conclusions: Six articles said is was a neurological disease, one article said it was a autoimmune disease. Seven articles said it was not an autoimmune disease. Five articles were inconclusive. Any articles in Purple are recommended as a good read.


More details and the results of the twenty searches are below:

Keywords: Fibromyalgia Autoimmune Illness:

(1) “Is Fibromyalgia Hereditary?

Like other rheumatic diseases, fibromyalgia could be the result of a genetic tendency that’s passed from mother to daughter. Some researchers believe that a person’s genes may regulate the way his or her body processes painful stimuli. These scientists theorize that people with fibromyalgia may have a gene or genes that cause them to react intensely to stimuli that most people would not perceive as painful. Several genes have been found to occur more often in people with fibromyalgia. (WebMD) {Genetic}

(2) Life With an Autoimmune Disease

Also followed a link to another article in Web MD Autoimmune Diseases. Nothing in the article mentions anything about fibromyalgia being an autoimmune disease. {Not Autoimmune Disease}

(3) Autoimmune Disease Fact Sheet.

Are chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia autoimmune diseases? Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia (FM) are not autoimmune diseases. But they often have symptoms of autoimmune disease, like being tired all the time and pain.

(WomensHealth.Gov) {Not Autoimmune Disease}

(4) Fibromyalgia. An article from the University of Maryland Medical Center

Comes out and says it resembles some autoimmune diseases, but it is not an autoimmune Disease. This is a recommended read at: <; {Not Autoimmune Disease}

(5) Fibro Related Conditions. No conclusions as to whether fibromyalgia us neurological or an autoimmune illness. {Inconclusive}

(6) Is Fibromyalgia an Autoimmune Disease?

No — or at least, it’s not classified as one at this time.

Because fibromyalgia was once believed to be an arthritis-related condition, and most arthritis is autoimmune, the assumption was that fibromyalgia fit into this category. ChronicFatigue.About.Com {Not Autoimmune Disease}

(7) Is fibromyalgia an autoimmune disorder of endogenous vasoactive neuropeptides?

This article includes references to neurology but conclude that Fibro is likely related to Autoimmune related illnesses; {Autoimmune Disease}

(8) Autoimmune Disorders of the Joints, Muscles, and Nerves

It has not been officially categorized as an autoimmune condition, but it is sometimes put in that category because it frequently occurs in patients with other diseases that cause musculoskeletal symptoms, including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, which are both autoimmune disorders. {Not Autoimmune Disease}

(9) Developments in the Scientific and Clinical Understanding of Fibromyalgia

FM is common in patients with autoimmune disease and may be the source of many of the symptoms, and much of the disability in these patients. Although FM is generally regarded as a noninflammatory and nonautoimmune disease, some patients have evidence of autoimmunity. {Not Autoimmune Disease}

(10) 7 Things You Should Know About Autoimmune Diseases

Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia are not autoimmune diseases. Both are frequently categorized as such, because they share many common symptoms to autoimmune diseases, but they are technically not autoimmune diseases. As such, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome may be even less understood by doctors. People with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue may, however, also have associated autoimmune diseases, according to the AARDA. Huffington Post {Not Autoimmune Disease}

Keywords: Fibromyalgia Neurological Illness :

(1) Fibromyalgia: Is Fibromyalgia Real?

A growing body of information suggests fibromyalgia is a true neurological disorder. {Neurological}

(2) Neurological Signs and Symptoms in Fibromyalgia

Objective: To determine the type and frequency of neurological signs and symptoms in individuals with fibromyalgia (FM).

Conclusions: This blinded, controlled study demonstrated neurological physical examination findings in persons with FM. The FM group had more neurological symptoms than controls, with a moderate correlation between symptoms and signs. These findings have implications for the medical work-up of patients with FM. {Neurological}

(3) The Neurological Connection to Fibromyalgia

If you have fibromyalgia, some of your symptoms might be caused by a neurological disorder such as a cervical spinal cord compression (stenosis) and/or Chiara malformation. It is important for your long term health and for relief of pain, fatigue, and mental function, to rule out neurological conditions as part of your syndrome. If you answer yes to several of the following questions, you should take the initiative to be examined by a neurosurgeon for possible neurological implications.

NFRA.NET {Inconclusive, leans toward neurological}

(4) Fibromyalgia: Understand the Diagnosis Process

Fibromyalgia symptoms include widespread body pain, fatigue, poor sleep and mood problems. But all of these symptoms are common to many other conditions. And because fibromyalgia symptoms can occur alone or along with other conditions, it can take time to tease out which symptom is caused by what problem. To make things even more confusing, fibromyalgia symptoms can come and go over time.

MayoClinic.Org {Inconclusive}

(5) Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Chronic widespread body pain which can wax and wane is the primary symptom of fibromyalgia. Both men and women with fibromyalgia often experience moderate to extreme fatigue, sleep disturbances, sensitivity to touch, light, and sound, and cognitive difficulties. Many individuals also experience a number of other symptoms and overlapping conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, TMJD, lupus and arthritis. Stress often increases symptoms of fibromyalgia. {Inconclusive}

(6) A Neurologist’s Approach

As a neurologist, I often use anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) to help control pain. There appears to be an overlapping neurological system involved in epilepsy, depression, and pain, because similar medications seem to exert an impact on those same systems. AEDs are often good at relieving migraines and they are effective at reducing burning pain. However, their ability to treat the dull, achy, widespread pain of fibromyalgia is not easy to predict. I start a person on one AED, and if it helps, but the pain is still bad, I will usually add a second AED with a different mechanism of action. {Inconclusive, leans toward neurological}

(7) Numbness, insomnia, constant pain and fatigue… Just some of the symptoms of a debilitating illness that affects 1.8m Britons

It is an illness that can lead to excruciating pain at points all over the body, numbness, crushing fatigue coupled with insomnia, and an inability to handle even mild changes in temperature or light. Fibromyalgia is a neurological condition thought to affect 1.8 million Britons to varying degrees, and experts do not know what causes it. {Neurological}

(8) Is Fibromyalgia a Neurological Disorder

Fibromyalgia is diagnosed by the presence of its primary symptom which is widespread muscle and joint pain throughout the body. “The diagnosis of Fibromyalgia is given to a person when they have this unexplainable pain in various parts of their body.” What is Fibromyalgia That’s a good question and since no one knows exactly what causes this disease there is no definitive test for it. {Neurological}

(9) Neurologic Signs Common With Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia isn’t all in your head, new research suggests. In a study, researchers found that people with fibromyalgia were more likely than those without the chronic pain condition to have poor balance, tingling and weakness in the arms and legs, and other “neurologic” signs and symptoms. The new findings, reported in the latest issue of Arthritis and Rheumatism, support a growing body of literature suggesting that the condition is real and also support the possibility that a “neuroanatomical” cause may underlie fibromyalgia. These observations, Watson told Reuters Health, underscore the need for “careful neurological examinations in all fibromyalgia patients, particularly those with neurological complaints.” Watson cautioned that this study does not confirm a neuroanatomical basis for fibromyalgia and that much more work is necessary before this can be known with certainty. SOURCE: Arthritis and Rheumatism, September 2009. {Neurological}

(10) Fibromyalgia

Its exact cause is unknown but is believed to involve psychological, genetic, neurobiological and environmental factors. There is evidence that environmental factors and certain genes increase the risk of developing fibromyalgia; these same genes are also associated with other functional somatic syndromes and major depressive disorder The central symptom of fibromyalgia, namely widespread pain, appears to stem from neurochemical imbalances and the activation of inflammatory pathways in the brain which results in abnormalities in pain-processing. The brains of people with fibromyalgia show functional and structural differences from those of people without fibromyalgia, but it is unclear whether the brain anomalies cause fibromyalgia symptoms, or are the product of an unknown underlying common cause. Some research suggests that these brain anomalies may be the result of childhood stress, or prolonged or severe stress.

Wikipedia {Neurological}

Conclusion – What type of illness is Fibromyalgia?

Out of the top Ten sources for each pair of keywords, those articles states the any of the four or none of the four was the type of disease fibromyalgia is.

Neurological: 6

Autoimmune: 1

Arthritis Related:

Genetic: 1

Not Neurological:

Not Autoimmune: 7

Not Arthritis Related:

Not Genetic:

Inconclusive: 5

Winner Of The 2015 Visibility Award

Winner Of The 2015 Visibility Award

I have spent a great deal of time writing about fibromyalgia for the last couple of years. I have been surprised about the reaction to my Blog posts on fibromyalgia from all over the world. From South America to Africa, from Europe to Asia, From Russia to Australia and beyond.

Official 2015 Invisible Diseases WinnersI have found it to be rewarding to write about my experience with fibro. I’ve enjoyed connecting with people that suffer from fibromyalgia. I continue to read and study about fibromyalgia which is helpful to me to understand this debilitating disease. I have also learned about the concept of invisible illnesses. That is where you have a serious chronic illness that most people don’t understand because they can’t see anything wrong with you.

Since learning about the concept of invisible illnesses I have tried to advocate about that concept of illness along with my advocacy of fibromyalgia.

I am grateful and pleased to be the 2015 recipient of the Visibility Award from Invisible diseases need to be taken seriously which means everyone needs to understand was invisible diseases are. You can learn a lot more about that concept by visiting their web site. Thank you InvisibleDisease for the award.

I also want to give a big shout out to my Christian Fibro family and it’s creator Darlene Blair Fibro, creator of my Facebook Fibro Family Christian Support Of  OUR PURPLE OASIS ~ SECRET GROUP. I’ve been with them a long time and I value their support and understanding.

Who’s In Charge? You Or The Doctor? Seven Ways

Who’s In Charge? You Or The Doctor?

When you are chronically ill with something like fibromyalgia and other similar invisible diseases, your doctor can be your best friend or worse nightmare. Your health is like a roller coaster and the doctor is like the operator of the roller coaster. He can control the ride and make it a pleasant one, or if he is thoughtless or careless he can make the ride a nightmare.

You need the best doctor(s) you can find. You are the manager of your team of doctors. Seldom, can a fibro patient get by with one doctor. You need other doctors even if you only see them once or twice a year. There are so many contradictory side affects that you occasionally need to see other doctors so you know that your symptoms haven’t turned into some more than a fibro symptom.

A good example would be the pain in the area of your ribs and sternum. The pain during a big flare up can make you think you are having a heart attack. You need to see a cardiologist on a regular basis like every six months or every twelve months depending on the counsel of your cardiologist.

fibro_whosthebossThis way if your EKG, blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol levels are known to be good then you can have some confidence when you have a flare up in the sternum area. If migraines are a chronic problem then you should have a neurologist on your team of doctors. You get the point. You need to look at your symptoms every so often to make sure they are still related to fibromyalgia and not anything else.

It is so easy to blame everything on a fibro symptom. But that is bad fibro management.

Since you are the manager of a team of doctors, that makes you the boss. This answers the question “who’s in charge? You or the doctor?” Since you are the manager you are the boss. You can hire or fire your doctor which is one way to can exert your power over them.

I know that there are likely many fibro patients who live in remote areas and may not have easy access to a full team of doctors but you still need to play an active role in your health care and not just take what the doctor says at face value, and this goes for everyone.

A doctor goes to medical school and then specializes in a type of medicine then he goes to work. He keeps up some of his education by annual training classes and by reading medical journals.

But that doesn’t always keep your doctor up to speed on the every changing world of fibromyalgia.

Your own personal education is part of the responsibility of being in charge.

Some people might take issue with my point of the patient being in charge and not the doctor. After all, the doctor is highly educated and trained. Your doctor controls your access to medication and therapies. This alone would make people think the doctor is in charge. But that just isn’t always the case.

How to be in charge of your health and team of doctors.

Seven ways to be in control of your medical health.

1. Come to the appointment prepared. Write down all your questions and review them in the waiting room and be well prepared with those questions.

fibro_whostheboss12. Take notes while in your visit with a doctor, especially if you have fibro fog.

3. When the doctor prescribes medicine ask if the new drug will react negatively with the meds you are already on. They should know, but they can still overlook your prescription medication history. Over the years I have asked that question and there have been four or five times that a doctor stopped and looked at my list of medication and actually changed the medicine. It doesn’t seem like they would overlook that aspect of your visit but they are human and they make mistakes.

4. Don’t be afraid of them, speak out and tell them what you think. Don’t be intimidated by their advanced degrees. This is your body and your life. Ask questions and tell them what your thinking. If this is a problem with your doctor and he doesn’t like it, go to another doctor.

5. Remember that in spite of their advance degrees and training they are human and they make mistakes.

6. Don’t let doctors push you around. I’ve waited as long as six hours for one doctor and I quit seeing him after the post op check up. I’ve waited for hours to see doctors before only to hear them say at the end of the anointment, “I’m running late and I need to get to my patients.” I held my ground and told him I’m not through. I have also made statements such as “I waited for two hours and now it is my turn.”

7. If your doctor is a jerk, fire him or her and get another doctor. Your life and your health are too important to be blocked at every turn by an uncaring doctor.

You are the manager of your health care team and your client (you) is very important. Be the boss and act like the boss because you are the only one who can really manage your health.

Troy Wagstaff ©

Invictus, The Inspirational Poem For Those Who Suffer

Invictus, The Inspirational Poem For Those Who Suffer

The inspiring and motivational poem “Invictus” written by William Earnest Henley is a poem for the ages. It is so ably applicable to anyone who suffers indignity, injustice, invisible illness or pain.

invictus_memeWhen we are suffering inside from any type of illness that is not obviously apparent we suffer alone and usually in silence. Let this verse inspire you and help you realize that through our God we can have an unconquerable soul that through the grace of God we are indeed the captain of our fate and the captain of our soul. It matters not what others think it only matters that our God blesses us with an unconquerable soul and blesses us with the strength to be the captain of out destiny.

I dedicate this poem to all my fibro friends and all those who suffer Fibromyalgia and other invisible illnesses.


By William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

I am the captain of my soul.

In spite of the fibro that covers me which is as despairing and black as a pit. I thank my God! For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance, I have winched and I have cried out loud, but I have not given up. My head is bloodied from the circumstance of my illness that I didn’t ask for, but for which I suffer. Beyond this pain and burden are more wrath and ache.

But in spite my suffering through all the years to follow they shall find me unafraid. It matters not the pain or angst or how powerful the fear, because I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.

What speaks to me from this poem are three lines in particular: 1. For my unconquerable soul, 2. I am the master of my fate, and 3. I am the captain of my soul. What part of this poem speaks to you. Is this an encouraging poem to you?

By Troy Wagstaff

Journal Therapy For Fibromyalgia and Others With Chronic Or Invisible Illnesses

Journal Therapy For Fibromyalgia and Others With Chronic Or Invisible Illnesses

If memory serves me correctly, I have fibro fog so it doesn’t always, I started keeping a journal when I was about fourteen years old. I continued that practice almost daily until I was about 23 or 24 years old. Through the years I have started and stopped writing in a journal.

I do keep a medical journal at the present. But I am writing a lot lately and that sometimes over laps in journaling. There are six reasons to consider writing in a journal to help manage Fibromyalgia, chronic illness or invisible illnesses.

1. For Fun

2. A Legacy

3. Physical Therapy

4. Mental Therapy

5. Medical Journal

6. Emotional Therapy

Before we get into these six great reasons for keeping a diary, I want to emphasis that there is one rule to keep in mind. Just do it. There is no right or wrong way to do it as long as you do it regularly, every day or not every day, it’s up to you.


Journal writing can be fun, at least for certain people. It’s a way to express yourself and keep track of your past. If you find writing enjoyable but you are not in a position to get serious about it, then keep an informal diary. Doing something fun is good for Fibromyalgia fighters, chronic pain patients and for those with invisible illnesses.


Keeping a journal about daily events or life events on a regular basis for posterity is a great reason for keeping a diary. For those with physical challenges, leaving behind a legacy or how you felt and how you coped with illness could be priceless for your descendants.

My Dad served as a U.S. Army medic in North Africa and France during World War II. I am a history buff for WWII. I wish like crazy I had a diary of his time at war.


There are two reasons I mention journal writing for physical therapy. One is for people like me who physically have a hard time writing with a pen or pencil. With Fibromyalgia I have lost a lot of hand dexterity. Writing is a way to concentrate on controlling nerves that effect your fingers and hands. The trouble with that is my hands get tired after two or three small paragraphs.

I do my writing mainly on the keyboard but I do enough note taking to keep my hand’s active.

There is another physical aspect for writing of any type. Any language art is good for the brain. It stimulates neuro pathways between both hemispheres of the brain and that helps your brains cognition which is good for failing memory or fibro fog. I learned this from a neuro-psychologist at my pain clinic. Since I have been writing almost daily, I have noticed some improvement in my memory. I still walk into a room to take pain meds because I’m hurting and I forget why I got out of my recliner and went into that room. But I really feel like my memory is better than it was five months ago, but has a long way to go.

Writing a journal also serves as a memory bank for those of us with memory issues. For a great deal of memories I am at the mercy of my wife or someone else. Had I kept a journal I could have looked up special events to retrieve my memories.

Now that I have Dragon dictation software, I am going to start keeping a regular journal.

Six Reasons To Keep A Journal

Six Reasons To Keep A Journal


I debated whether to include this “for mental therapy” as a separate category because it overlaps some of the information in Physical Therapy and Emotion Therapy. I then realized that to some extent writing your thoughts and feelings in a journal could be like going to a psychologist. They get you to talk about your feelings. Some times it feels good to talk to someone. Some people may be uncomfortable talking to a stranger with an advanced degree about their problems. Write in a journal all about your problems. The written page doesn’t know who you are.


As of this writing, I only keep a medical journal. A medical journal can be anything along the lines of keeping track of what was said at your many doctor visits to recording your daily symptoms, and keep track of taking pain pills or other medication. You can keep track of your activity level. This is a great reason to keep a journal especially for me with a bad case of fibro fog.


For most people, sharing their emotions can be difficult. But when you have the pressure of a chronic illness or are a victim of an invisible illness like personality disorders or Fibromyalgia you have a lot of pressure on your emotions.

Letting go of those emotions can help. What better way is there than to write them down on paper or computer. The paper (computer) won’t judge you and won’t reveal your secrets.

You can also track your emotional health by looking back a week ago or a month or year ago and see how you were feeling and compare it to how you’re feeling today.

There are likely more reasons for writing a journal. Tell me how you keep a journal in the comments section below. I’ve noticed over time, I’ve seen improvement in my memory by daily writing and my medical journal has been a helpful reference for my Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.

Troy Wagstaff ©

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