Researchers find main source of chronic fibromyalgia pain in blood vessels

I just came across this article and had to share it immediately! Finally! Some real hope for a cure for this awful, invisible disease! Finally, some real proof that this is not all in our heads that surely will convince everyone in the medical community what we’ve all be shouting at them for ages. This made my week and it’s only Monday! Things can only go better from here!

 

Fibromyalgia Mystery Finally Solved!

Researchers Find Main Source of Pain in Blood Vessels

Researchers have found the main source of pain in Fibromyalgia patients, and contrary to what many believe, it does not stem from the brain. The findings mark the end of a decades-old mystery about the disease, which many doctors believed was conjured in patients’ imaginations. The mystery of Fibromyalgia has left millions of sufferers searching for hope in pain medications. Up until recently, many physicians thought that the disease was “imaginary” or psychological, but scientists have now revealed that the main source of pain stems from a most unlikely place- excess blood vessels in the hand.

The discovery may lead to new treatments and perhaps even a total cure in the future, bringing relief to as many as 5 million Americans thought to have the disease. To solve the Fibromyalgia mystery, researchers zeroed in on the skin from the hand of one patient who had a lack of the sensory nerve fibers, causing a reduced reaction to pain. They then took skin samples from the hands of Fibromyalgia patients and were surprised to find an extremely excessive amount of a particular type of nerve fiber called arteriole-venule (AV) shunts.

Body map

Up until this point scientists had thought that these fibers were only responsible for regulating blood flow, and did not play any role in pain sensation, but now they’ve discovered that there is a direct link between these nerves and the widespread body pain that Fibromyalgia sufferers feel.

The breakthrough also could solve the lingering question of why many sufferers have extremely painful hands as well as other “tender points” throughout the body, and why cold weather seems to aggravate the symptoms. In addition to feeling widespread deep tissue pain, many Fibromyalgia patients also suffer from debilitating fatigue.

Neuroscientist Dr. Frank L. Rice explained: “We previously thought that these nerve endings were only involved in regulating blood flow at a subconscious level, yet here we had evidences that the blood vessel endings could also contribute to our conscious sense of touch… and also pain,” Rice said. “This mismanaged blood flow could be the source of muscular pain and achiness, and the sense of fatigue which are thought to be due to a build-up of lactic acid and low levels of inflammation fibromyalgia patients. This, in turn, could contribute to the hyperactivity in the brain.”

Current treatments for the disease have not brought complete relief to the millions of sufferers. Therapies include narcotic pain medicines; anti-seizure drugs, anti-depressants and even simple advice such as “get more sleep and exercise regularly.” Now that the cause of Fibromyalgia has been pinpointed, patients are looking forward to an eventual cure. Other expressed frustration about how much they had suffered already:

“When are they ever going to figure out that things are never “all in your head?” said one commenter. “Whenever something doesn’t fit in their tiny little understanding, they belittle the patient and tell them they are crazy. People have suffered through this since they were invented. Prescribing SSRIs for everything is not the answer any more than a lobotomy or hysterectomy was.”

The announcement has the potential to unlock better future treatments and undoubtedly has patients all over the world rejoicing that the mystery of Fibromyalgia has finally been solved.

By: Rebecca Savastio, from The Guardian

Lessons Learned from Chronic Pain

I was talking with a friend yesterday about how chronic pain has been a harsh teacher for me, but it’s taught me a lot of important life lessons. It turned into a really good discussion and at one point I realized all the things I was saying. Pain has changed me forever, but a lot of the changes have made me better person. I wanted to share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned from my pain. Sometimes we lose perspective amidst all the pain and forget that there is always a silver lining to things, we just have to take the time to look for it.

You make room for the pain

  • Slow down
  • Enjoy the moment
  • Don’t spend so much effort thinking and worrying about the future that you lose out on all the good of the present
  • Remember to breathe (Yes, you can forgot how to breathe! I know, I’ve done it.)
  • In the grand scheme of things today’s crisis doesn’t mean anything
  • Always look for the silver linings
  • It’s okay to say no and put yourself first
  • Be clear on what you want or you won’t get it (especially with doctors!!!)
  • (Literally) Stop and smell the roses…any flower really

butterfly17

  • Stop to enjoy the feeling of the sunshine and the feel of the breeze on your face
  • Enjoy the little things in life
  • Worrying is just a waste of the limited energy I have
  • Stay positive in the face of pain
  • Smile, even if you have to fake the smile for awhile until it’s a genuine one
  • Listen to your body, it will tell you what it (and therefore you) need and what is bad for you
  • Laugh as much as you can
  • Kick off your shoes and enjoy the feeling the grass and earth under your feet
  • Anyone who won’t make any effort to understand what you are dealing with with fibromyalgia and blames you for your illness isn’t worth your time

I could go on if I took the time. It took me a long time to learn these lessons. I’m hard headed. But now I’m so glad I’ve learned these lessons. I enjoy and appreciate things much more than I used to before going through this ordeal. I didn’t know what I was missing out on until I took the time to stop and smell the roses.

Pain Makes Us Who We Are

Pain Makes Us Who We Are