Up until this point scientists had thought that these fibers were only responsible for regulating blood flow but now they think that there is a direct link between these nerves and the widespread body pain that fibromyalgia sufferers feel.
Neuroscientist Dr. Frank L. Rice explained in 2013: “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.”
There is still no specific blood test, scan or x-ray that can confirm a diagnosis of the common pain syndrome, although blood tests are often carried out to rule out other conditions.
A more recent study in 2015 at King’s College London, funded by a three year grant of £171,000 from Arthritis Research UK, are hoping their latest research will lead to a reliable blood test to enable doctors to make a proper diagnosis.
The research team will examine samples and measurements taken from 400 twin volunteers from the 13,000 Twins UK Bioresource in which one twin has chronic widespread pain, to try to identify biomarkers in the DNA associated with the condition. It will be compared with the DNA of their healthy twin, to establish differences.
“Currently there is no blood test for fibromyalgia which makes diagnosis difficult,” explained lead researcher Dr Frances Williams. “And treatment is limited, and in many cases unsatisfactory.
Dr Williams goes on to say that he “hopes it will lead to identification of a biomarker which we could work into a blood test. As well as enabling the condition to be diagnosed more effectively, it could help to ‘stratify’ patients into groups depending on disease severity, which will help in clinical trials of potential new treatments. It might even help us predict how the condition will progress.”
Fibromyalgia is known to have genetic influences but there are many complicated steps between the genes which are responsible for fibromyalgia and the condition itself. The King’s team hopes to explore these steps in more detail and shed light on the underlying biology of the condition.
Dr Natalie Carter, head of research liaison at Arthritis Research UK commented: “Fibromyalgia is notoriously difficult to diagnose and treat, partly because we know so little about why it occurs and how it progresses. Being able to diagnose it would be a major step forward, and understanding more about the influence of genetics will allow us to develop treatments specifically for people with fibromyalgia in the future.”
For more information, visit the website – www.arthritisresearchuk.org
In 2010 a study was carried out by Hong-You et al published in the Journal of Pain 2010; 11(7): 644-651 which proposed that actually points of tenderness in muscles that are often found in those suffering from fibromyalgia can mimic fibromyalgia pain patterns.
Therefore some people think they have fibromyalgia when in fact they just have muscular active ‘trigger points’ that could be helped by chiropractic treatment and acupuncture.
Dr Moore and Dr Barton can both use acupuncture and massage to try to relieve your pain by this means – if your pain goes away quickly it was probably due to muscular trigger points; if not then you may have fibromyalgia.
Chiropractic treatment can be effective for fibromyalgia sufferers – it might be worth making an appointment to discuss your symptoms. Massage, manipulation, exercises can help some people – do call us for advice or information – we are here to help!