The Hypnogenic Theory of Fibromyalgia

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This is the theory that fibromyalgia is caused by poor sleep. This theory has probably never been formally proposed. There is however a very extensive scientific literature that clearly demonstrates a prominent role for poor sleep in fibromyalgia.

In the experience of the author this is largely true in some cases. The leader in this area of research has been Harvey Moldofsky. He did not claim poor sleep was the cause but he did show that it is an important contributing factor. The author has some cases from his clinical files of patients whose e sleep deteriorated before they developed their chronic widespread muscle pains. He also has many cases of the reverse i.e. pains preceded the poor sleep. There were other cases that started with an emotional psychological disturbance. It is largely because all three situations do occur that he proposed the vortex theory of fibromyalgia.

The hypnogenic theory may be applicable in some cases, such as in cases where a person had no serious stress issues, but they developed fibromyalgia when their sleep deteriorated, and their fibromyalgia symptoms improved after successful sleep treatment. An example is a patient who developed fibromyalgia after they developed sleep apnea and their pains improved when they got CPAP treatments for it.

The problem with the hypnogenic theory is that it fails to explain the many cases of fibromyalgia that clinically seem to have been triggered by a stress issue or emotional conflict. The author’s “vortex theory” is largely an attempt to bridge this gap.