Recent research that was trying to find the cause of pain in fibromyalgia patients has discovered that it doesn’t originate from the brain. This is a massive discovery that marks the end of the mystery about fibromyalgia. This condition affects millions of people and is usually treated with painkillers.
Doctors consider it a psychological disorder, but now scientists have discovered that the pain comes from an unusual place – the blood vessels in the hand.
The discovery could lead to new treatments and a possible future cure, which is great news for more than 5 000 000 Americans. In order to solve the mystery, the scientists focused on the skin of the hand of a patient who had a lack of sensory nerve fibers, which resulted in lowered pain response.
The scientists were surprised to find a big number of nerve fibers called arterioles-venule (AV) referrals in the skin sample. Until then, the scientific community thought that these fibers regulate the blood flow and had no role in pain, but have now found a direct link between nerves and fibromyalgia pain.
This discovery is groundbreaking and may answer questions about why many people suffering from fibromyalgia report pain in the hands and why cold seems to aggravate their symptoms.
According to Dr. Frank L. Rice, a neuroscientist, science previously thought that these nerve endings were involved in the regulation of blood flow. However, the research showed that they can also contribute to the conscious sense of touch. “This poorly managed blood flow can be the source of discomfort and muscle aches and a sense of fatigue, presumably due to an accumulation of lactic acid and low levels of inflammation in patients with fibromyalgia. This, in turn, can contribute to hyperactivity in the brain,” says Dr. Rice.
The current treatment for fibromyalgia hasn’t brought relief to every patient. The common therapies are narcotic analgesics, anticonvulsants, and antidepressants as well as simple tips such as sleeping more and exercising regularly. However, now that the cause of the condition has been discovered, patients can look forward to a possible cure.
“When there is something that does not fit into their understanding, some doctors underestimate their patients and tell them that they are crazy. The prescription of SSRIs against fibromyalgia is not the answer – it was nothing more than a lobotomy or hysterectomy,” says one of the scientists involved in the study.
The study is very promising and offers a better future for the unfortunate patients suffering from fibromyalgia.