New way to treat chronic pain, suggested by study

Interesting article on new research on the genetics of chronic pain.  I’m glad to see research on systemic chronic pain is being done.  Maybe there is hope for a new drug one day to help sufferers of chronic pain, fibromyalgia, and other such diseases.

New way to treat chronic pain, suggested by study.

ScienceDaily (Mar. 26, 2012) — Nearly one in five people suffers from the insidious and often devastating problem of chronic pain.

That the problem persists, and is growing, is striking given the many breakthroughs in understanding the basic biology of pain over the past two decades. A major challenge for treating chronic pain is to understand why certain people develop pain while others, with apparently similar disorders or injuries, do not. An equally important challenge is to develop individualized therapies that will be effective in specific patient populations.

Research published online in Nature Medicine points to solutions to both challenges. A research team led by Prof. Jeffrey Mogil of McGill University in Montreal and Prof. Michael Salter of The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), affiliated with the University of Toronto, has identified a major gene affecting chronic pain sensitivity. The findings also suggest a new approach to individualizing treatment of chronic pain.

The gene that the researchers identified encodes the pain receptor known as P2X7. Specifically, the scientists discovered that a single amino-acid change in P2X7 controls sensitivity to the two main causes of chronic pain: inflammation and nerve damage.

The amino-acid change is known to affect only one function of P2X7 receptors — the forming of pores that permit large molecules to pass through — while leaving intact the other function, of allowing much tinier ions to flow through. Using a peptide that targets pore formation only, the researchers found that pain behaviours were dramatically reduced.

The scientists then examined genetic differences among human patients suffering from two distinct types of persistent pain: chronic post-mastectomy pain and osteoarthritis. In both cases, they found that individuals with genetically inherited low pore formation in P2X7 receptors experienced lower pain levels.

“Our findings indicate that it may be possible to develop drugs that block pores in this crucial receptor, while leaving its other function intact — thereby killing pain while minimizing side effects,” said Prof. Mogil, E.P. Taylor Professor of Pain Research in McGill’s Department of Psychology.

Read more here.

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Rock Bottom is still a Solid Foundation

Rock bottom is a solid foundation

This is can be so true for fibromyalgia and chronic pain sufferers if we choose to see things this way.  Happy Friday everyone!

Fighting Fibromyalgia Pinterest Board

I’ve started a Pinterest board for images and graphics that have meaning to me as a fibromyalgia sufferer.  A lot of my pins are graphics of motivational quotes that I like (like the one below).  Please check it out.  Follow me if you’re already a member as I’ll keep adding graphics to it.  Thanks!!

http://pinterest.com/painfighter/fighting-fibromyalgia/

You can also follow this blog on Facebook now:  http://www.facebook.com/fibromyalgiafighter

Start Where You Are…Do What you Can.

 

Chronic Pain Harms the Brain

An interesting article on chronic pain’s effect on the brain.

Chronic Pain Harms the Brain

Health vs Chronic Pain Brain

Comparison of Brains – Healthy vs. Chronic Pain

People with unrelenting pain don’t only suffer from the non-stop sensation of throbbing pain. They also have trouble sleeping, are often depressed, anxious and even have difficulty making simple decisions.In a new study, investigators at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine have identified a clue that may explain how suffering
long-term pain could trigger these other pain-related symptoms.   Researchers found that in a healthy brain all the regions exist in a state of equilibrium. When one region is active, the others quiet down. But in people with chronic pain, a front region of the cortex mostly associated
with emotion “never shuts up,” said Dante Chialvo, lead author and associate research professor of physiology at the Feinberg School.
“The areas that are affected fail to deactivate when they should.”

They are stuck on full throttle, wearing out neurons and altering their connections to each other.

This is the first demonstration of brain disturbances in chronic pain patients not directly related to the sensation of pain.

Read more here.

Quote of the Day

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” –Benjamin Franklin Persistence is a great weapon against fibromyalgia. I know I’m too stubborn to give in to the pain. We might not always have a lot of energy but we can do a lot with what we have.

The Fibromyalgia Cycle

Fibromyalgia Cycle

The Fibromyalgia Cycle

This is one of the best graphic representations of the fibromyalgia cycle I’ve ever seen, so I had to share.  Based on my own personal fibromyalgia symptoms, I would make a few changes though, if this were my drawing.  I would change fatigue to Fatigue/Poor Sleep.  Sleep is key for fibromyalgia sufferers.  I need a minimum of 8 hours a night.  I don’t always get that, but I do my best to come close.  Even if I do get 8 hours, its usually not a full 8 hours of good, restful sleep.  Our bodies need a chance to recharge and get a break from the havoc our brain’s screwed up pain signal wiring causes.  Sleep gives us this necessary break.  Without sleep, we are fatigued and our pain is worse.

I’d also change limited activity to Limited or Too Much activity.  Too little exercise or activity can increase our pain, but so can overdoing it.  If we have a good day and push ourselves too hard, we’re going to pay for it the next day with more pain.

I’d also change Depression because it isn’t just that emotional state that feeds our pain.  Any extreme emotion will do it.  I’ve had a long crying fit trigger a fibro flare up, but I’ve also had a really good day where I was super excited and almost manically happy trigger a flare up.  If we go too far to either side of the scale, we’re going to pay for it with more pain the next day.

All of these triggers feed our pain.  They all feed eachother.  They all form a vicious cycle that just causes all these symptoms to get worse and worse.  It’s incredibly hard to break this cycle.  Medications can help.  A daily exercise program can help.  Working with a cognitive therapist can help.  But most of all it takes willpower and inner strength to pick a symptom, target it mentally, and work to make it better.  If I can make one of these symptoms better, my pain gets a little better.  If I can balance these symptoms so they’re all in a more normal range, my pain drops to the lowest level, which I call my good days.  It’s like keeping plates balanced and spinning on poles.  It’s hard and nearly impossible, but it’s really cool when you achieve it.