Tuesday

Fibromyalgia: A Disorder of the Brain?

Fibromyalgia: A Disorder of the Brain?

"...studies of brain anatomy show structural differences between the brains of fibromyalgia patients and healthy individuals. The cerebral alterations offer a compelling explanation for the multiple symptoms of fibromyalgia, including widespread pain and affective disturbances."

This article by Petra Schweinhardt, Khara M. Sauro and M. Catherine Bushnell comes to the conclusion that despite the many changes seen in the brain imaging, "fibromyalgia might not be a primary disorder of the brain but may be a consequence of early life stress or prolonged or severe stress."

This stress is thought to change pain and emotion circuits in the brain of people who are genetically susceptible.

This idea sits well with my own personal experience - 5 children ! This has been stressful for me over a period of time. How about you... does it ring true?

ARTICLE ABSTRACT

This article presents evidence that fibromyalgia patients have alterations in CNS anatomy, physiology, and chemistry that potentially contribute to the symptoms experienced by these patients.

There is substantial psychophysical evidence that fibromyalgia patients perceive pain and other noxious stimuli differently than healthy individuals and that normal pain modulatory systems, such as diffuse noxious inhibitory control mechanisms, are compromised in fibromyalgia. 

Furthermore, functional brain imaging studies revealing enhanced pain-related activations corroborate the patients' reports of increased pain. 

Neurotransmitter studies show that fibromyalgia patients have abnormalities in dopaminergic, opioidergic, and serotoninergic systems.

Finally, studies of brain anatomy show structural differences between the brains of fibromyalgia patients and healthy individuals. 

The cerebral alterations offer a compelling explanation for the multiple symptoms of fibromyalgia, including widespread pain and affective disturbances. The frequent comorbidity of fibromyalgia with stress-related disorders, such as chronic fatigue, posttraumatic stress disorder, irritable bowel syndrome, and depression, as well as the similarity of many CNS abnormalities, suggests at least a partial common substrate for these disorders. 

Despite the numerous cerebral alterations, fibromyalgia might not be a primary disorder of the brain but may be a consequence of early life stress or prolonged or severe stress, affecting brain modulatory circuitry of pain and emotions in genetically susceptible individuals. 
NEUROSCIENTIST 14(5):415—421, 2008. DOI: 10.1177/1073858407312521

Brain MRI

This post is linked up at Fibro Friday

5 comments:

  1. I wish I could read the entire article but based on the abstract and my personal experience it makes sense to me.

    thanks for drawing my attention to it!

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  2. You are welcome. Don't you just hate how many of these articles are only snippets in the medical field! I wish more people would respond about what they think about this prolonged stress

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  3. Anonymous6:20 AM

    @Displaced,if you click on it where the words "this article" are underlined,it will take you to the full article.

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  4. Yes! I don't know if this applies to 'everyone', I don't like to make blanket statements when what applies to one may not apply to another. That being said, I believe this may well be true in my life. I was a victim of incest at as a child, had a rough start in my marriage for the first 15 years, and I tend to be a 'worrier'. My life is leaps and bounds more wonderful now than it has ever been! But, I believe prolonged stress has taken it's toll. Thanks for this article! :)

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  5. You are welcome Kristine and thank you for sharing your story here. I am sorry to hear what has happened to you and so happy for you that your life is wonderful now.

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Thanks for your input