Pain or No Brain?

Ages and ages ago (except it doesn’t feel that long ago – doesn’t time fly when you’re in a fibro fog!), I (with my doctor’s advice) weaned myself off Lyrica to see if we could find a better way to deal with this condition. If you followed the posts, you’ll remember that I ended up at Step 1 again and back on it…almost immediately.

Basically, it seemed, I was given the choice of being in pain (no Lyrica) or no brain (with Lyrica). I chose no pain.

I am beginning to question my choice…as my brain and everything in it quickly turns to mush.

119. fibro fogLyrica (and Neurontin, by the way) blocks the formation of new brain synapses, drastically reducing the potential for rejuvenating brain plasticity – meaning that these drugs will cause brain decline faster than any substance known to mankind! (This is not me being OTT – this is a quote by some-one else.)

Synaptic plasticity is a key feature of nerve architecture that enables your brain to tolerate stress, recover from trauma, and make changes. That’s how your brain bounces back from intense stress (or not, in our case). Hmmm….and that could be why I just can’t seem to quit smoking. Our brains, on Lyrica, are no longer flexible or “plastic.”

Doctors use them for all manner of nerve issues because they are good at suppressing symptoms. However, can we justify this use now that the actual mechanism of the drugs is finally understood? – they are creating a significant long-term reduction in nerve health.

148. fibro fogTo make matters worse (yes, they can get worse), antidepressants block the action of acetylcholine. What does acetylcholine do, you might ask? It is the primary neurotransmitter involved with memory and learning. And, how many of us take antidepressants? I know that I do. See what I mean by things getting worse?

Can it really be right to force us to make this kind of choice?

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Chronically Quiet

70. never aloneMany of us are lonely and alone…and it’s sad.

But let’s look at some of the great revelations and benefits found in silence and solitude that other people (smartphone users check their device every 6.5 minutes, which works out to mean around 150 times a day) miss out on. Silence has been replaced with a cacophony of communication, and solitude with social media.

Here are ten (as described by Thai Nguyen):

1.       Bypassing Burnout:

Too often our culture parallels self-worth with productivity levels. Whether it’s asking what our country can do for us, or what we can do for our country, the question remains—what is left to be done? It’s a one-way ticket to burnout.

Solitude allows for a break from the tyrant of productivity. What’s more is that doing nothing helps with doing much rather than being in opposition. Promega is a company with on-the-job “third spaces” where employees are able to take solitude breaks and meditate in natural light. This has resulted in numerous health benefits as well as improved productivity levels for the company.

2.       Heightened Sensitivity (ok, maybe we don’t want this one):

For many, attempting ten days of silence would be akin to walking on water. Vipassana silent retreats are exactly that; participants are instructed to refrain from reading, writing, or eye contact.

One hundred scientists went on a retreat for research and noted that shutting off the faculty of speech heightens awareness in other areas. Beginning with breathing, that focus and sensitivity is then transferred to sights, sounds, sensations, thoughts, intentions and emotions.

3.       Dissolving Tomorrow’s Troubles:

Alan Watts argues that our frustration and anxiety is rooted in feeling and being disconnected—living in the future or the past is nothing but an illusion.

Silence brings our awareness back to the present. This is where concrete happiness is experienced. Watts makes the distinction between our basic and ingenious consciousness; the latter makes predictions based on our memories, which seem so real to the mind that we’re caught in a hypothetical abstraction. It plans out our lives with an abstract happiness, but an abstract happiness can also be a very real disappointment.

The future falls short of what the present can deliver. Silence and solitude can help immerses us back in the present moment.

2014 1. nature4.      Improves Memory (fibro what?):

Combining solitude with a walk in nature causes brain growth in the hippocampus region, resulting in better memory.

Evolutionists explain that being in nature sparks our spatial memory as it did when our ancestors went hunting—remembering where the food and predators were was essential for survival. Taking a walk alone gives the brain uninterrupted focus and helps with memory consolidation.

5.       Strengthens Intention and Action:

Psychologist Kelly McGonigal says during silence, the mind is best able to cultivate a form of mindful intention that later motivates us to take action.

Intentional silence puts us in a state of mental reflection and disengages our intellectual mind. At that point McGonigal says to ask yourself three questions:

“If anything were possible, what would I welcome or create in my life?”

“When I’m feeling most courageous and inspired, what do I want to offer the world?”

“When I’m honest about how I suffer, what do I want to make peace with?”

Removing our critical minds allows the imagination and positive emotions to build a subconscious intention and add fuel to our goals.

McGonigal explains, “When you approach the practice of figuring this stuff out in that way, you start to get images and memories and ideas that are different than if you tried to answer those questions intellectually.”

6.       Increases Self-Awareness:

In silence, we make room for the self-awareness that allows us to be in control of our actions, rather than under their control. The break from external voices puts us in tune to our inner voices—and it’s those inner voices that drive our actions. Awareness leads to control.

We must practice becoming an observer of our thoughts. The human will is strengthened whenever we choose not to respond to every actionable thought.

7.       Grow Your Brain (oh, another one that really couldn’t hurt any of us!):

The brain is the most complex and powerful organ, and like muscles, benefits from rest. UCLA research showed that regular times set aside to disengage, sit in silence, and mentally rest, improves the “folding” of the cortex and boosts our ability to process information.

Carving out as little as 10 minutes to sit in our car and visualize peaceful scenery (rainforest, snow-falling, beach) will thicken grey matter in our brains.

8.       “A-Ha” Moments:

The creative process includes a crucial stage called incubation, where all the ideas we’ve been exposed to get to meet, mingle, marinate – then produce an “A-ha” moment. The secret to incubation? Nothing. Literally. Disengage from the work at hand, and take a rest. It’s also the elixir for mental blocks. What’s typically seen as useless daydreaming is now being seen as an essential experience.

9.       Mastering Discomfort:

Just when we’ve found a quiet place to sit alone and reflect, an itch will beckon to be scratched. But many meditation teachers will encourage us to refrain and breathe into the experience until it passes (Remember Eat, Pray, Love?).

Along with bringing our minds back from distracting thoughts and to our breathing, these practices work to build greater self-discipline.

10.     Emotional Cleansing

Our fight/flight mechanism causes us to flee not only from physical difficulties, but also emotional difficulties. Ignoring and burying negative emotions, however, only causes them to manifest in the form of stress, anxiety, anger and insomnia.

Strategies to release emotional turbulence include sitting in silence and thinking in detail about what triggered the negative emotion. The key is to do so as an observer—stepping outside of ourselves as if we’re reporting for a newspaper. It’s a visualization technique used by psychotherapists to detach a person from their emotions, which allows them to process an experience objectively and rationally.

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You Could Have Asked Me…

New findings published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), suggest that brain abnormalities in response to non-painful sensory stimulation may cause the hypersensitivity (increased unpleasantness) that patients experience in response to (‘normally’ non-painful) daily visual, auditory and tactile stimulation.

According to the study, patients reported increased unpleasantness in response to multi-sensory stimulation in daily life activities. Furthermore, the fMRI images displayed reduced activation of both the primary and secondary visual and auditory areas of the brain, and increased activation to visual, auditory and tactile stimulation that patients reported to experience in daily life.

191. broken wing

Lead study author, Dr Marina López-Solà from the Institute of Cognitive Science, University of Colorado Boulder said, “Our study provides new evidence that fibromyalgia patients display altered central processing in response to multi-sensory stimulation, which are linked to core fibromyalgia symptoms and may be part of the disease pathology. The finding of reduced cortical activation in the visual and auditory brain areas that were associated with patient pain complaints may offer novel targets for neuro-stimulation treatments in fibromyalgia patients.”

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Too Stress(ed) or Not to Stress (Two)

Visualisation/Imagery Meditation

This is a technique to deeply relax people and allow them to use the power of their mind to make positive changes in their life. Visualisation is the process of actively making pictures in your mind to create the outcome you desire. Visualisation and mental imagery are like mental movies.

When using creative visualisation or imagery in relaxation, you simply imagine a scene, place or event that you remember as safe, peaceful, restful, beautiful and happy. You may spontaneously visualise this scene, which is brought about through your ability to channel when in a deep relaxed state such as meditation. You activate all your senses to hear sounds of nature such as running water or waves crashing on the shore; to smell the air, grass and flowers; to taste the food, water or wine and feel the warmth of the sun. This place becomes an inner sanctuary, to which you can retreat in times of stress. You will often spontaneously experience the most effective images for yourself, as your subconscious mind is free to communicate to you while deeply relaxed.

Other uses of creative visualisation in relaxation involve creating mental pictures of stress flowing out of your body, or stress, negative thoughts, internal chatter and everyday concerns being drawn out and placed in a box with the lid tightly secured. The ability to draw on your intuitive faculties and tap into the subconscious mind becomes easier with regular practice. Many of these examples are used by hypnotherapists, so this style of meditation is extremely powerful.

Applying Creative Visualisation

 

Visualisation is a form of mental rehearsal. A person who is visualising can actually see himself completing specific actions (like going to a disability hearing and blitzing all the questions!). Whenever we want to do anything, the areas of our brain for planning and movement are involved, followed by activation of the motor areas that carry out the action. The brain prepares the body milliseconds before it is about to begin an action. It formulates a motor program based on movements in the frontal and prefrontal cortex. Then onto the motor cortex where the movements are carried out. As you visualise, you can create the same process.

Put simplistically, the more you visualise the more you practise.

How to visualise

Make the situation as vivid as possible in your mind. Be specific when you imagine the activity and use colour and as many senses as possible – smell, touch, sound. The more real your visualisation, the greater the stimulation of your brain. The more you enhance a situation in your mind, the more powerful it becomes. Powerful imagery will help propel you to where you want to go.

Visualisation is done by closing your eyes and concentrating on the point between your eyebrows directly above the nose. This is the prefrontal cortex area and is also known as the third eye, sixth chakra or Christ consciousness. What is interesting about this point is that it has been used for thousands of years for meditation and prayer, before humans even knew what the prefrontal cortex was.

Build some active processes into your visualisations. For example, if you want to get rid of some old emotions don’t just see the emotions getting smaller and smaller in your mind but go through the actions of making them smaller or throwing them away with your hands so that you engage your body in the action.

Engage all your senses. Visualise the touching, smelling, hearing and tasting as well as the seeing. The more senses you engage the more of the mind you tap into. Create visualisations by using all of your senses. If you’re creating a picture of success, feel the success. Napoleon Hill wrote in his classic Think and Grow Rich, “feel the feeling of success.” Use all your senses as you imagine how it feels to achieve your visualisation.

Visualisation can also be used by creating a strong negative association in your mind with a behaviour you want to eliminate. If you are trying to give up junk foods, you can associate them with being nauseated, vomiting and having stomach cramps. If you can, make the picture vivid enough that it creates a real sensation and the sheer thought of eating that food is enough to turn your stomach. Similarly, you can associate some foods with positive sensations and feel good about eating those foods, even without actually eating them. Do this with healthy, nutritious foods.

Once you have harnessed the power of visualisation, you can use it for almost anything. The more you use it, the more powerfully you’ll imprint the desired outcome in your mind and the more likely you are to actually achieve what you want. This, of course, goes hand in hand with actual preparation for the activity.

Visualisation can be used to prepare for any situation where you may come under extra pressure or need a positive outcome. The first part of the visualisation is to create a positive picture of the success of an event, such as imagining your friends and family coming up to you after your hearing and saying, “Congratulations, that was excellent.” The second part is to mentally rehearse the event in your mind. See yourself walking to the front of the room with a confident smile and body language, taking centre stage, and answering any and all questions perfectly. It is best to run through your major points in your mind. It should only take a few minutes the first time and then when you have done it several times, it will become easier.

The more you rehearse, the more you’ll reinforce your ability to achieve the results you want.

Find the Essence Within

Give yourself a gift this holiday season…find the essence within.

chronic comic 172We, as people, are forever attempting to be someone other than who we authentically are. We read an array of self-help books with the idea of attaining skills enabling us to connect with our true essence. Many of us have read it all before and yet we continue to strive to be that being outside of ourselves. Why would we endeavour to change the essence within when perfection comes from our own uniqueness?

Society, our peers, upbringing, education and the media gently, yet effectively, drive us to believe we are not quite good enough and change is desirable. In actual fact, the opposite rings true.

Our authentic self is never lost, only hidden. Some ideas I have personally discovered in order to rediscover the true essence within myself are:

  • Repeat as often as possible, “I am perfect exactly as I am”.
  • Ask yourself, what did I enjoy as a child? Singing, dancing, writing, public speaking, creating, poetry, carpentry etc.
  • Then reintroduce at least one of these activities into your life. Who knows where it may lead. You may meet new friends or create an innovative business idea from something you actually love doing.
  • Ignore societal views regarding age barriers. Who says you cannot be a famous violinist? Did you know current neuroscience research demonstrates that our brain is plastic and forever changing, growing and learning, irrelevant of age. Dreams are not just for the young (or perfectly healthy)!
  • Say what you think and feel (of course, with a splash of diplomacy). It is not your job to tiptoe around others, making them feel comfortable at the expense of your own needs. Allow yourself to be lazy occasionally. There is too much pressure to be amazingly driven and goal oriented. It is okay to do nothing at times, staring into space thinking, dreaming and being vague – this is the space where connection with your inner voice is sometimes heard. Goals can be considered only once you have heard your inner voice, as there resides your base for building your life.
  • Make choices based on YOUR OWN dreams. For example, many find it desirable to own a home; but, perhaps you would prefer to be a resident of the world and rent in different cities. Maybe you would rather own a business and inject your earnings into a creative idea.
  • Be motivated by your soul, not by guilt. We are easily driven off our path through guilt. Guilt is not a good motivator. Guilt is instilled through various means that create a belief system from which we operate in later years. Let us all tame guilt and be free.

You may note a general theme running through the above ideas. You discover you by allowing yourself the freedom to make choices and decisions only for you. It may appear self-centred to approach life in this manner. The opposite is true. People who genuinely love you will be happy you are treating yourself as your own best friend. Your authentic way of life will encourage others to do the same and this will impact on their circles as well.

Thurman

Reprinted from the December issue of LIVING WELL with FIBROMYALGIA – like it? Subscribe for the next issue HERE

 

Your Own Super Power – Visualisation

Visualisation is the process of actively making pictures in your mind to create the outcome you desire. Visualisation and mental imagery are like mental movies. At the most simple level, you may close your eyes and imagine your home, or the face of a particular friend. This is how we use it every day in so many ways – in fact, in everything we do. Prayer is a form of mental imagery. The use of visual imagery can also be used in a very positive way to generate a picture of what you want in your life. You can use visualisation to create strong, positive mental images, which in turn reinforce a positive attitude.

Visualisation is a form of mental rehearsal. A person who is visualising can actually see himself completing specific actions (like going to a disability hearing and blitzing all the questions!). Whenever we want to do anything, the areas of our brain for planning and movement are involved, followed by activation of the motor areas that carry out the action. The brain prepares the body milliseconds before it is about to begin an action. It formulates a motor program based on movements in the frontal and prefrontal cortex. Then onto the motor cortex where the movements are carried out. As you visualise, you can create the same process.

Research has demonstrated that the brain is stimulated in much the same way by actual performance and virtual or visualised performance. It follows that the more you visualise a situation, the more real it will feel to you and this, in turn, will reinforce your belief.

More than 100 studies have shown the benefits of visualisation as an effective performance enhancing technique. In one study, between 72% and 97% of elite track and field athletes used imagery to improve performance, while in some other sports it was used by 100% of athletes. Other studies have shown that professional sports players make significantly greater use of imagery, focusing, relaxation and other mental skills than novices. So why not do it the way the champions do it? In one study, basketballers were separated into three groups. One group practised free throws, the second group used only mental visualisation with no physical practice, and the third group had the practice time off altogether. Not surprisingly, the third group got worse. However, the physical training group and the visualisation group improved equally. Imagine the benefit if you did both the mental and physical training.

Put simplistically, the more you visualise the more you practise.

How to visualise

Make the situation as vivid as possible in your mind. Be specific when you imagine the activity and use colour and as many senses as possible – smell, touch, sound. The more real your visualisation, the greater the stimulation of your brain. The more you enhance a situation in your mind, the more powerful it becomes. Powerful imagery will help propel you to where you want to go.

Visualisation is done by closing your eyes and concentrating on the point between your eyebrows directly above the nose. This is the prefrontal cortex area and is also known as the third eye, sixth chakra or Christ consciousness. What is interesting about this point is that it has been used for thousands of years for meditation and prayer, before humans even knew what the prefrontal cortex was.

Build some active processes into your visualisations. For example, if you want to get rid of some old emotions don’t just see the emotions getting smaller and smaller in your mind but go through the actions of making them smaller or throwing them away with your hands so that you engage your body in the action.

Engage all your senses. Visualise the touching, smelling, hearing and tasting as well as the seeing. The more senses you engage the more of the mind you tap into. Create visualisations by using all of your senses. If you’re creating a picture of success, feel the success. Napoleon Hill wrote in his classic Think and Grow Rich, “feel the feeling of success.” Use all your senses as you imagine how it feels to achieve your visualisation.

Visualisation can also be used by creating a strong negative association in your mind with a behaviour you want to eliminate. If you are trying to give up junk foods, you can associate them with being nauseated, vomiting and having stomach cramps. If you can, make the picture vivid enough that it creates a real sensation and the sheer thought of eating that food is enough to turn your stomach. Similarly, you can associate some foods with positive sensations and feel good about eating those foods, even without actually eating them. Do this with healthy, nutritious foods.

Once you have harnessed the power of visualisation, you can use it for almost anything. The more you use it, the more powerfully you’ll imprint the desired outcome in your mind and the more likely you are to actually achieve what you want. This, of course, goes hand in hand with actual preparation for the activity.

Visualisation can be used to prepare for any situation where you may come under extra pressure or need a positive outcome. The first part of the visualisation is to create a positive picture of the success of an event, such as imagining your friends and family coming up to you after your hearing and saying, “Congratulations, that was excellent.” The second part is to mentally rehearse the event in your mind. See yourself walking to the front of the room with a confident smile and body language, taking centre stage, and answering any and all questions perfectly. It is best to run through your major points in your mind. It should only take a few minutes the first time and then when you have done it several times, it will become easier.

The more you rehearse, the more you’ll reinforce your ability to achieve the results you want.

The Theory of Relativity and Your Relatives!

Einstein’s famous theory of relativity proposed that matter can distort space and time. Now, it appears, that pain can distort your surroundings, as well.

A new study recently published in the journal Neurology suggests that chronic pain can have the same effect. Neuroscientists from the University of South Australia, Neuroscience Research Australia and the University of Milano Bicocca in Italy, studied people with chronic back pain, the most common painful condition.

The researchers presented identical vibration stimuli to the painful area and a non-painful area and noted that the stimuli were processed more slowly by the brain if they came from the painful area. The most striking finding, however, was that the same effect occurred if the stimuli were delivered to a healthy body part being held near the painful area. Lead author of the study, Professor Lorimer Moseley, from the University of South Australia, says it was not altogether surprising that, in people with chronic pain, there are changes in the way the brain processes information from and about the painful body part. “But what is remarkable is that the problem affects the space around the body as well as the body itself,” Prof Moseley says.

Experiments showed that if a hand was held near the painful area of the back, the brain would almost ‘neglect’ that hand. “The potential similarity between our findings and the time-space distortion predicted by the relativity theory is definitely intriguing,” Prof Moseley says. “Obviously, here it is not external space that is distorted but the ability of the brain to represent that space within its neural circuitry.”

“This finding opens up a whole new area of research into the way the brain allows us to interact with the world and how this can be disrupted in chronic pain.” So, got a family member you don’t really want to be around? Keep that person on the side of your body that hurts most! Your brain will neglect him/her!

Understanding the Pain

I really liked this metaphor for understanding our pain, so I thought I would partially reblog (also I feel like crap, so I’m kinda cheating):

Understanding the Pain Response of Fibromyalgia

By Adrienne Dellwo, About.com Guide

When you’re trying to understand how pain works in someone with fibromyalgia, it can help to step away from the medical jargon and compare it to something most of us are already familiar with. To me, it really helps to think about a computer network. (Don’t worry – you don’t have to understand a lot about computers to get this!)

Computer Network Malfunction

Picture the computer network at a large company, with a bunch of computers all connected to a server, and an IT department full of guys who keep it all running.

Problem #1: Now imagine there’s a glitch in the system and things just aren’t running right. The computers start popping up with erroneous warning messages, so everyone starts emailing IT about them.

Problem #2: The glitch causes all of those emails to be sent in triplicate.

Problem #3: The IT department is woefully under staffed today, with 2 guys present instead of the usual 6. They were already working hard to keep the system running when suddenly they were swamped with emails and there’s no way they can keep up on them. Now the email system is on the verge of crashing because of the sudden spike.

You can imagine the chaos and confusion that would result, as well as the drop in everyone’s ability to actually get their jobs done.

Nervous System Malfunction

Now let’s look at how this applies to what’s going on in your body.

The computer network is your nervous system. The server is your brain, and the computers represent cells. The IT guys? They’re playing the role of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which helps your brain process pain signals.

In Problem #1: The cells inaccurately interpret different kinds of stimuli as pain (erroneous warning messages.)

In Problem #2: They send pain signals to your brain (emails,) but because they have high levels of an enzyme called substance P, they send up to triple the number of signals they should send.

In Problem #3: Your brain is working hard to keep your body running, when suddenly it’s bombarded by pain signals emails. It doesn’t have enough serotonin to process the messages that are coming in, and the pain distracts resources from other areas.

Just as in a company, this dysfunction causes myriad problems in your body and your life and makes it hard for you to function.

My Condition is Invisible – I AM NOT!

My illness is invisible – no longer!

Researchers in France have been able to detect functional abnormalities in certain regions in the brains of patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia, reinforcing the idea that symptoms of the disorder are related to a dysfunction in those parts of the brain where pain is processed. Using single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) (before Dr Oz had even thought about it)

“Fibromyalgia is frequently considered an ‘invisible syndrome’ since musculoskeletal imaging is negative,” said Eric Guedj, MD, lead author of the study. “Past imaging studies of patients with the syndrome, however, have shown above-normal cerebral blood flow (brain perfusion) in some areas of the brain and below-normal in other areas. After performing whole-brain scans on the participants, we used a statistical analysis to study the relationship between functional activity in even the smallest area of the brain and various parameters related to pain, disability and anxiety/depression.”

The researchers confirmed that patients with the syndrome exhibited brain perfusion abnormalities in comparison to the healthy subjects. Further, these abnormalities were found to be directly correlated with the severity of the condition.

“Interestingly,” said Dr Guedj, “we found that these functional abnormalities were independent of anxiety and depression status.” In the past, some researchers (and even now, some doctors) have thought that the pain reported by fibromyalgia patients was the result of depression rather than symptoms of a disorder.

“Fibromyalgia may be related to a global dysfunction of cerebral pain-processing,” Guedj added. “This study demonstrates that these patients exhibit modifications of brain perfusion not found in healthy subjects and reinforces the idea that fibromyalgia is a ‘real disease/disorder.'”

  • An increase in perfusion (hyperperfusion) was found in the region of the brain known to discriminate pain intensity,
  • And a decrease (hypoperfusion) was found within those areas thought to be involved in emotional responses to pain.

(And once again) What does this mean to us?

Because molecular imaging techniques such as SPECT can help predict a patient’s response to a specific treatment and evaluate brain-processing recovery during follow-up, it could prove useful when integrated into future pharmacological controlled trials.

Agony Education

A ‘normal’ person, when on the receiving end of repeated pain, experiences a process called pain inhibition – where repeated painful stimuli hurt progressively less. New research, published in MolecularPain.com, demonstrates that the brains of people with fibromyalgia have physiological dysregulation in the pain inhibition network (Big words, huh? Basically, it means our brains don’t work the same way as the brain of a ‘normal’ person in regards to pain.)

FM pain isn’t caused by obvious sources. Our muscles and connective tissues show no signs of degeneration. Our bones and joints are as healthy as anyone else’s. Pain without damage is hard to understand and treat (and that’s much of the reason that we were all told that the pain was all in our heads). But as researchers looked to the head – the brain, more specifically – they started uncovering more about our pain. Instead of being in the mind (psychological), it’s in the brain (neurological).

Despite this miraculous discovery, effective treatment for FM is scarce (really?) and long-term follow-up demonstrates that FM is chronic, with recurrent periods of intensified symptoms and low probability of full recovery.[1] Consequently, FM often has devastating effects on quality of life, including lost productivity and increased healthcare costs.[2] The strongest precursor to FM is the presence of long-term localized pain,[3] suggesting that FM pathology develops over time in exposure to persistent pain. The research team relied on the premise that a better understanding of central pain modulation in FM, and therefore of its underlying mechanisms, could help to develop strategies aimed at prevention and treatment.

In this study, the differences in functional brain connectivity between FM patients and matched ‘normal’ controls, were investigated during intermittent application of pressure pain. The results revealed that ‘normal’ controls had more connectivity between the amygdala, hippocampus and brainstem than the FM group. Additionally, the thalamus had lower connectivity to the orbitofrontal cortex in the FM group.

So why do we care about this research? This study helps shed light on the mechanisms behind fibromyalgia pain and how it is maintained. It also may provide an objective measure of pain dysregulation that doctors could use to support a fibromyalgia diagnosis.

 

P.S Supposedly A Current Affair on Channel 9 has a segment that guarantees a good night’s sleep tonight!


[1] Bengtsson A, Bäckman E, Lindblom B, Skogh T: Long term follow-up of Fibromyalgia patients: Clinical symptoms, muscular function, laboratory tests – en eight year comparison study. J Musculoskeletal pain 1994, 2:67–80

[2] Cunningham LaK J: Epidemiology of musculoskeletal impairments and associated disability. Am J Public Health 1984, 74:574–579; Robinson RL, Birnbaum HG, Morley MA, Sisitsky T, Greenberg PE, Claxton AJ: Economic cost and epidemiological characteristics of patients with fibromyalgia claims. Journal of Rheumatology 2003, 30:1318–1325; Wolfe FJ, Anderson D, Harkness RM, Bennett XJ, Caro DL, Goldenberg IJ, Russell MB, Yunus MB: A prospective, longitudinal, multicenter study of service utilization and costs in fibromyalgia. Arthritis Rheum 1997, 40:1560–1570.

[3] Burckhardt CS, Clark SR, Campbell SM, O’Reilly CA, Bennett RM: Events and co-morbidities associated with the onset of fibromyalgia. J Musculoskeletal pain 1995, 3:71.