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People Need To Stop Dismissing Fibromyalgia As Solely Psychological

September 13, 2016 in Fibromyalgia, Nerve Pain

Fibromyalgia has been seen as a mysterious condition for centuries. Scientists, researchers, and doctors are still not in confident agreement about how this ailment is caused or why certain individuals suffer from it. Fibromyalgia does not affect a localized part of the body but instead, plagues the sufferer with widespread aches and pain. The disorder has not been shown to be an inflammatory condition and has been substantially more prevalent in women, with no determined cause. This condition has attracted interest due to the large number of unanswered questions and frustrated patients looking for solutions. Finally, new research has begun to shed light on the physiological causes of a disease that was often dismissed as solely psychological.

The Mystery is Unfolding.

Marina Lopez-Sola of the University of Colorado, Boulder published a paper in Arthritis & Rheumatology that proved individuals who suffer from fibromyalgia are hypersensitive to everyday sensory stimulation. When tested with a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the fibromyalgia patients showed increased activity in the sensory integration regions of the brain when exposed to visual or auditory stimuli. Essentially, this means that sensory signals are not being processed in the appropriate areas of the brain in individuals with fibromyalgia. For fibromyalgia sufferers the signals are amplified when they should be simply running in the background.

What this Means for Treatment.

Lopez-Sola believes that this research implies future directions for treatment should target the brain through neurostimulation. If origins of fibromyalgia gather enough evidence to be identifiable as a neurological condition, then there will hopefully be a larger consensus around treatment. Antidepressants are often used to treat fibromyalgia due to their ability to release hormones to combat pain. Antidepressants alter the level of chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters and attempt to lessen the effects of nerve fibers carrying messages of pain to the brain. These medications can also cause sedation, which could help a fibromyalgia sufferer have a more restful sleep and be less irritable, more energized, and able to concentrate throughout the day. Overall, we hope that new studies will help researchers to customize medication to target fibromyalgia pain and allow sufferers to get back to living pain free.

 

View Dr-HO'S Fibromyalgia page to learn more about the condition.

To discover at-home treatments to ease your fibromyalgia pain check out these pain relief products.

Sources:

  1. 2014 Heitz, David. Healthline. "Study: Fibromyalgia Sufferers Have Trouble Processing Sight, Sound, Touch."
  2. 2014. Consumer Reports. "Best medications to treat Fibromyalgia
    Comparing effectiveness, safety, and price."
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