Fibromyalgia pain dysfunction involves an increased sensitivity to pain known as hyperalgesia. New research suggests that a disruption of brain signals for reward and punishment contributes to this increased pain sensitivity. The results published in Arthritis & Rheumatism, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology, suggests that it is this altered brain processing that could contribute to the widespread pain felt by people with fibromyalgia as well as the lack of response to opioid therapy in patients.In people“’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.”
Pain dysfunction in the brain of people with FM, and the brains of people with chronic pain, affects more than a few areas of the brain. We often think pain is this signal sent out and it is cut and dry, but it isn’t… there is a lot of interpretation going on in the brain, lots of areas lighting up in there for the process. So lots of areas go… wonky and more than one neurotransmitter is involved in that. Which is what we see in FM. High levels of substance P, lower levels of dopamine which can help to dampen a pain signal that is deemed by the brain to be insignificant… and this is the regular state of affairs as it were. So to think that someone’s brain with FM would respond the same to pain anticipation and pain relief anticipation would be quite odd. In fact given the normal state of affairs is heightened pain to all pain stimulus, which endures beyond the actual stimulus, one would think it would not react the same way to pain relief anticipation… because the person does not actual anticipate pain relief the same way as a healthy individual does. So I am not sure we can say this is the cause of the heightened pain experience as it seems it would be more of an effect of chronic pain itself. I wish they had added in other people with other chronic pain conditions to correlate it to.