Fibromyalgia Mystery Finally Solved!

Researchers Find Main Source of Pain in Blood Vessels

Fibromyalgia Mystery Finally Solved! Researchers Find Main Source of Pain in Blood Vessels

Researchers have found the main source of pain in Fibromyalgia patients, and contrary to what many believe, it does not stem from the brain. The findings mark the end of a decades-old mystery about the disease, which many doctors believed was conjured in patients’ imaginations. The mystery of Fibromyalgia has left millions of sufferers searching for hope in pain medications. Up until recently, many physicians thought that the disease was “imaginary” or psychological, but scientists have now revealed that the main source of pain stems from a most unlikely place- excess blood vessels in the hand.

The discovery may lead to new treatments and perhaps even a total cure in the future, bringing relief to as many as 5 million Americans thought to have the disease. To solve the Fibromyalgia mystery, researchers zeroed in on the skin from the hand of one patient who had a lack of the sensory nerve fibers, causing a reduced reaction to pain. They then took skin samples from the hands of Fibromyalgia patients and were surprised to find an extremely excessive amount of a particular type of nerve fiber called arteriole-venule (AV) shunts.

Up until this point scientists had thought that these fibers were only responsible for regulating blood flow, and did not play any role in pain sensation, but now they’ve discovered that there is a direct link between these nerves and the widespread body pain that Fibromyalgia sufferers feel.

The breakthrough also could solve the lingering question of why many sufferers have extremely painful hands as well as other “tender points” throughout the body, and why cold weather seems to aggravate the symptoms. In addition to feeling widespread deep tissue 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 regulating blood flow at a subconscious level, yet here we had evidences that the blood vessel endings could also contribute to our conscious sense of touch… and also pain,” Rice said. “This mismanaged blood flow could be the source of muscular pain and achiness, and the sense of fatigue which are thought to be due to a build-up of lactic acid and low levels of inflammation fibromyalgia patients. This, in turn, could contribute to the hyperactivity in the brain.”

Current treatments for the disease have not brought complete relief to the millions of sufferers. Therapies include narcotic pain medicines; anti-seizure drugs, anti-depressants and even simple advice such as “get more sleep and exercise regularly.” Now that the cause of Fibromyalgia has been pinpointed, patients are looking forward to an eventual cure. Other expressed frustration about how much they had suffered already:

“When are they ever going to figure out that things are never “all in your head?” said one commenter. “Whenever something doesn’t fit in their tiny little understanding, they belittle the patient and tell them they are crazy. People have suffered through this since they were invented. Prescribing SSRIs for everything is not the answer any more than a lobotomy or hysterectomy was.”

The announcement has the potential to unlock better future treatments and undoubtedly has patients all over the world rejoicing that the mystery of Fibromyalgia has finally been solved.

RELATED: Fibromyalgia: Proof of Physical Origins Vs. Two Danish Psychiatrists

By: Rebecca Savastio

Source: Redorbit

Source: Womenshealth.gov

Source: Yahoo News

2,662 Responses to Fibromyalgia Mystery Finally Solved!

  1. Eva van Loon April 26, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    What’s the cure? Surgery? Yet more poisonous drugs?
    How does this explain why 4 out of 5 FMS patients are female?
    Why don’t people with these weird hands develop FMS earlier in life?
    How does excess blood flow in the hands translate into “hyperactivity in the brain” (first time I’ve heard of that FMS “symptom”!)?
    Does this mean that if your hands aren’t sore, you aren’t a fibromyalgic?
    What about the zillion other symptoms that fibromyalgics reliably complain of–how does “mismanaged blood flow” cause those?
    I’ve been dagnosed with FM since 1992 and completed a study of 100 women with FM that was postered at the world FM convention but I need to know a lot more before this makes any sense. This has to be one of the worst-written quasi-medical articles ever.

    Reply
    • angelsong April 26, 2015 at 8:20 pm

      Well said Eva. There are many unanswered questions in this article. I hope someone reads your informative and intelligent questions and is able to give some of the details you outlined. I hadn’t thought to ask any of the things you asked and am glad on behalf of myself and others like me that you did.

      Reply
      • Eva van Loon April 27, 2015 at 12:27 am

        Thanks for your comments and the Albany article, which is far more informative. It’s great that FM patients can finally feel vindicated; it’s amazing that it took 25 years to prove the disorder is real.

        (I am not calling FM a disease because I am skeptical that it is. My experience tells me it’s a set of symptoms that is becoming more and more common and is linked to endocrine disruption. That avenue can explain a lot of the observations of the past about FM, such as gender skew, variability of symptoms, and so on.)

        The next question is, how will this observation about the shunts in FM hands help heal the patient?

        Reply
    • angelsong April 26, 2015 at 8:26 pm

      http://www.albany.edu/news/39664.php

      I found this article that describes a drug treatment focusing on this new information. It sounds like it wouldn’t be painful surgery but medication targeted specifically for these blood vessel fibers… perhaps you can make better sense of it.

      Reply

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