By Pat Anson, Editor
A disruption in brain signals may contribute to increased pain sensitivity in fibromyalgia patients, according to new research.
A small study published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism suggests that this altered brain processing may contribute to hyperalgesia – causing widespread pain and a lack of response to opioid pain medication.
“In patients with fibromyalgia there is an alteration in the central nervous system pain processing and a poor response to topical pain treatments, trigger point injections and opioids,” said lead author Dr. Marco Loggia from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.
“Our study examines the disruption of brain function involved in the individual experience of pain anticipation and pain relief.”
Researchers enrolled 31 patients with fibromyalgia and 14 healthy participants. Magnetic resonance images (MRI) of the brain and cuff pressure pain stimulation on a leg were performed on all subjects. During the MRI, participants received visual cues alerting them of impending pain onset (pain anticipation) and pain offset (relief anticipation).
The MRI images showed that during both pain anticipation and pain relief, fibromyalgia patients had a less robust response in the parts of their brains involved in sensory, affective, cognitive and pain regulating processes.
Read more at National Pain Report.
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