As yet, little has been known concerning the ailment, which in turn causes deep tissue discomfort, especially in the fingers and feet. Sufferers also report problems sleeping and problems thinking clearly. There has been no chance to confirm the presence of the condition in patients, besides making use of mind imaging scans, which usually occasionally show gray issue reduction and a rise within the pain reaction referred to as “central sensitization. ”
Within a report published in this particular month’s problem of Pain Medication, researchers at Integrated Cells Dynamics (Intidyn) in NY reported that the reason for fibromyalgia is, in fact, an abnormality within the palms of patients’ hands.
A group led by Dr. Frank Grain, a president and neuroscientist of Intidyn, and also pain professional Dr. Charles Argoff, the neurologist at Albany INFIRMARY in NY, found a good enormous upsurge in a number of physical nerve fibers inside the particular arteries of your skin around the palms of fibromyalgia patients’ hands.
Rice told Healthline the next thing is to find away just why there are thus several sensors fibers. “ We’ve methods to do this, and whenever we proceed in plus physique that out, it’ll improve the question of how exactly to treat this, ” he said. “ We have now know where you can appear and we realize what’s incorrect. Now we have to find out why it went incorrect. ”
The discovery also reveals clues to the cause of other fibromyalgia symptoms. In the hands and feet, the blood vessels act as shunts, helping to speed blood flow and regulate body temperature.
The shunts act like a radiator in a car, Rice said, shutting down in warm conditions to radiate heat and opening up when it gets cold. The increased activity of the fibers in cold weather explains why fibromyalgia sufferers experience more pain during chilly times.
The extremities also act as reservoirs, storing blood for when the body needs it, such as during exercise. So, problems with blood vessels in the hands also interfere with blood flow throughout the body, Rice said, perhaps explaining why fibromyalgia patients feel pain in various muscle groups. A decrease in blood flow from the hands may also trigger fatigue.
Argoff said the discovery will likely lead to better treatments and less confusion for fibromyalgia patients. “Typically, a person with fibromyalgia may see more than 10 healthcare providers, including multiple specialists, before being properly diagnosed,” Argoff told Healthline. “Who wouldn’t be frustrated under those circumstances?”
The study, funded by pharmaceutical companies Forest Laboratories and Eli Lilly, included only female subjects. Women are diagnosed with fibromyalgia twice as often as men.
The condition can currently be treated by three medications made by Forest and Eli Lilly: Cymbalta, Lyrica, and Savella. Rice said the companies are currently developing new prescription drugs for fibromyalgia, but did not give a timetable for their release, citing proprietary information.
Argoff said many healthcare providers in the U.S. don’t believe fibromyalgia exists, despite the availability of diagnostic criteria. He said some doctors label patients who complain of the symptoms as “malingerers” or “hysterical.”
Tara Manley of San Diego, Calif., has been managing her fibromyalgia for five years. She told Healthline she had a hard time convincing doctors that she was in pain. “Everything came back wonderful from all the tests, and I looked healthy,” she said.
However, there were times when the pain became so unbearable that she ended up in a wheelchair. Finally, a doctor in Los Angeles, who also suffers from fibromyalgia, diagnosed her, she said.
Sue Shipe, who lives in an Albany, New York, suburb, also has fibromyalgia. She founded the Institute for Human Empowerment in 2000 to advocate for people with the condition. She has successfully lobbied the state of New York to pass annual resolutions recognizing the illness.
She told Healthline that finding a physical cause for the condition is big news. “It validates the patient’s experience,” Shipe said.