Nerve Damage Found in Fibromyalgia Patients

Nerve Damage Found in Fibromyalgia Patients

Fibromyalgia has no known cause and few effective treatments, which is often discouraging to patients. A new study conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital studied a small group of fibromyalgia patients and found that about half of the participants experienced nerve problems.

At American Spine we are constantly looking for groundbreaking and state-of-the-art technologies to help treatment for fibromyalgia and other pain conditions. Research studies and their findings provide physicians, surgeons, and researchers with answers to some of medicine’s mysteries. Fibromyalgia studies are enormously beneficial considering the entire mystery of the condition.

The research team assessed 27 fibromyalgia patients and 30 healthy volunteers. The individuals with fibromyalgia all had signs of nerve damage and evidence of a disease called small-fiber polyneuropathy (SFPN). Anne Louise Oaklander, MD, PhD, director of the Nerve Injury Unit in the MGH Department of Neurology reported, “This provides some of the first objective evidence of a mechanism behind some cases of fibromyalgia, and identifying an underlying cause is the first step towards finding better treatment.”

Fibromyalgia is an especially frustrating disorder coupled with confusion and even more questions after diagnosis. The condition has a set of symptoms including chronic widespread pain, sensitivity to pressure, and fatigue. Roughly 5 million American adults have the condition, according to the National Institute of Muscular and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

The researchers of the study put the participants through a series of tests used to diagnose SFPN. They went through neuropathy assessments, physical exams, responses to questionnaires, skin biopsies, and autonomic function tests including heart rate, blood pressure, and sweating. 

The results of the tests showed profound levels of neuropathy in the fibromyalgia patients, but not the volunteers. Thirteen of the 27 fibromyalgia patients indicated a reduction in nerve fiber density and irregular autonomic function tests, which showed signs of the existence of SFPN.

Oaklander commented, “Until now, there has been no good idea about what causes fibro, but now we have evidence for some patient.” American Spine hopes that current studies will evolve into future treatment practices or pain management therapies. If you or someone you know suffers from fibromyalgia, call and set up an appointment with American Spine today!

At American Spine, we are dedicated to treating chronic pain and spine conditions. Offering the latest in minimally invasive spine surgery and other effective treatment options, American Spine is the leading pain physician group of California. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call us at (951)-734-PAIN (7246)

The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.

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