Researchers have found a major source of pain in patients with fibromyalgia, contrary to popular belief, not derived from brain. The results mark the end of a decades of mystery about the disease, many doctors believed was the brainchild of patients.
The mystery of fibromyalgia has left millions of people suffering in search of hope in pain medications. Until recently, many doctors thought the disease was “imaginary” or psychological, but scientists now have shown that the main source of pain results from an excess of sensory nerve fibers present around blood vessels located in the palm of the hand.
The discovery could lead to new treatments and perhaps even a complete cure in the future, bringing relief to millions of people suspected of having the disease.
To solve the mystery of fibromyalgia, the researchers focused their attention on the hand skin of a patient who had a lack of sensory nerve fibers, which caused a reduced response to pain.
They then took samples of skin on the hands of patients with fibromyalgia, and were surprised to find an extremely excessive amount of a particular type of nerve fiber.
Previously scientists thought that these fibers were only responsible for regulating the flow of blood, and that played no role in pain sensation, but now they found that there is a direct link between these nerves and generalized body pain.
The discovery could also solve the persistent question of why many patients have extremely painful hands and other “hot spots” throughout the body, and because the cold weather seems to aggravate the symptoms. In general feeling of deep pain, many fibromyalgia patients also suffer from debilitating fatigue.
Neuroscientist Dr. Frank L. Rice explained: “We previously thought that these nerve endings were only involved in the regulation of blood flow in a subconscious level, but now we have evidence that the ends of the blood vessels can also contribute to our conscious sense touch, and also the pain, “said Rice.
“This poorly managed blood flow can be the source of muscle pain and feeling of fatigue on patients with fibromyalgia.”
Current treatments for the disease have not brought complete relief to the millions of people who suffer. Therapies include narcotic analgesics; anti-seizure medications, anti-depressants and advice, even simple, such as “get more sleep and exercise regularly.”
Now that the cause of fibromyalgia has been identified, patients are looking forward to an eventual cure.