Fibromyalgia is a central nervous system disorder

fibromyalgia research

Some researchers are now suggesting that Fibromyalgia is a lifelong central nervous system disorder.

“Fibromyalgia can be thought of both as a discreet disease and also as a final common pathway of pain centralization and chronification. Most people with this condition have lifelong histories of chronic pain throughout their bodies,” said Clauw. “The condition can be hard to diagnose if one isn’t familiar with classic symptoms because there isn’t a single cause and no outward signs.” Daniel Clauw, M.D

The pain is essentially being amplified and at its core is coming from the brain and spinal cord. The syndrome is believed to be a disturbance with how the brain processes pain and sensory information.

“Because pain pathways throughout the body are amplified in fibromyalgia patients, pain can occur anywhere, so chronic headaches, visceral pain and sensory hyper-responsiveness are common in people with this painful condition,” Daniel Clauw, M.D

A lot of research suggests that opiates are not the best treatment for FM because they do not affect the neurotransmitters involved. It is even implied that with FM and other centralized pain states opiates can make the pain worse. Rather the treatment revolves around gabapentinoids, tricyclics, and serotonin reuptake inhibitors as well as CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), exercise and stress reduction.

This is not so much research as a statement of fact. Yes, indeed, they have finally settled on the idea that FM affects the nervous system. That is is basically a syndrome of pain central sensitization and pain signals being amplified by the brain. A lot of accumulated research has suggested this in the past. We are long past looking at the muscles to explain FM pain. So there is nothing profound in this statement and I strongly suspect researchers still don’t agree on it, despite the evidence.


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