Autonomic Nervous System

Dysfunction and Fibromyalgia


“Each patient carries his own doctor inside him.”
Norman Cousins

Fibromyalgia may be caused by a problem with the brain’s autonomic nervous system. This system helps to control a number of bodily processes, including digestion, reaction to stress, and metabolism. Problems with the hormones and neurotransmitters used by the autonomic nervous system can interrupt certain bodily processes, causing a number of fibromyalgia symptoms.

The nervous system is responsible for communicating vital messages to various parts of your body, helping you to act and react, see, touch, taste, and feel. However, if these messages get interrupted, it can lead to a variety of problems. Troubles with the nervous system could be one of the root causes for fibromyalgia syndrome.

The autonomic nervous system is an important part of your body’s central nervous system (CNS). It works automatically to help your body get on with daily living. The autonomic nervous system works alongside your body’s neurotransmitters and hormones in order to ensure that your body is working correctly. It helps to control a variety of different organs in your body as well as numerous bodily systems. It has a number of responsibilities, including regulation of body temperature, maintenance of bowel and bladder function, maintenance of heart rate and others. There are two parts to your autonomic nervous system, which are referred to as branches. These two branches work by sending signals, or messages, using special chemicals called neurotransmitters. The branches of the autonomic system are:

  • The Sympathetic System helps you to respond to conditions of stress, such as emergencies.

  • The Parasympathetic System is responsible for regulating sleep and digestion.

In order to communicate with one another, the two branches of the autonomic nervous system use special chemical hormones, called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters act as vehicles, carrying information back and forth between your brain and your body. If something goes wrong with these neurotransmitters, messages from the body to the autonomic nervous system can easily be confused.

In this program you we’ll learn about specific neurotransmitters that are thought to play
a role in fibromyalgia.