Are you experiencing constant muscle pain and fatigue? There is a good chance that you are suffering from fibromyalgia. As many as 5 million Americans that are aged 18 or older are affected by it. Women are the primary targets of this chronic disease, affecting up to 90% of them, and it’s very hard to treat.
For many years, research has pointed to this pain and fatigue just being “in the patient’s head.” It’s been characterized as a psychosomatic disorder, which means that it’s caused by mental factors that attribute to a person’s imagination.
Many people complain about pain in their neck, shoulders, back, and legs. But no research has been able to pinpoint what is causing this pain. Until now! Recent research has finally determined that this pain is in fact not just an imagination, but actually caused by a sensory nerve in blood vessels found in the palms!
Scientists at Integrated Tissue Dynamics were responsible for the study. They found that the fibres that were supposed to be only responsible for the blood flow in the skin are also responsible for sensing touch and pain.
In order to be sure about their findings, the team conducted a second study to see if they could locate any pathology in the blood vessels that could also contribute. After analyzing skin samples they collected from women who suffered from fibromyalgia, they discovered that there was a large increase in sensory fibres at certain sites within blood vessels of the skin.
These nerves are part of the arteriole-venule shunts, which are responsible for heat regulation in our body by controlling the blood flow in our blood vessels. In warm conditions, the shunts shut down which forces blood into the skin surface so it can be released.
In cold conditions, the shunts open up and allow the veins to conserve heat, thus our hands and feet become cold.
The lead scientist in the study, Dr. Albrecht, explains that this excess sensory innovation may be the cause of painful hands that fibromyalgia patients experience.
“Since the sensory fibres are responsible for opening the shunts, they would become particularly active during cold conditions, which are very bothersome times for fibromyalgia patients.”
The research team also came to another conclusion; they explain that our hands and feet usually contain more blood than they needed, so they’re used as reservoirs for blood which can be delivered throughout the body. Because of the pathology that occurs in these shuts, the blood flow is usually mismanaged.
President of Integrated Tissue Dynamics, Dr. Rice, elaborated on their findings, “The pathology discovered among these shunts in the hands could be interfering with blood flow to the muscles throughout the body. This mismanaged blood flow could be the root cause of muscle pain and achiness and the sense of fatigue that fibromyalgia patients experience.”
These findings are a step in the right direction for those suffering from fibromyalgia; it offers a proper treatment instead of the usual painkillers and antidepressants.
So if you’re suffering from fibromyalgia, or know someone that is, it’s good to finally know that you’re not crazy, and you can certainly be sure that fibromyalgia is real!
Causes of Fibromyalgia: Doctors are not completely sure of what actually causes a person to get fibromyalgia, a variety of factors may work together.
Genetics: In most cases, fibromyalgia runs in the family, so there could be a certain genetic mutation that can cause you to be more susceptible to the disorder.
Infections: Certain illnesses have the ability to trigger fibromyalgia.
Physical or Emotional Trauma: Fibromyalgia can sometimes be triggered by physical trauma, like a severe car accident. Psychological stress can also be a triggering factor as well.
Just because there is a new breakthrough that has discovered what might cause the pain for fibromyalgia patients, doesn’t mean that they should stop doing certain things that keep it from acting up. You need to continue taking care of yourself and lay out a program that helps with that.
You should first try and reduce the amount of stress in your life. This could mean putting some time aside to just relax. Getting enough sleep is another key point. Since fatigue is one of the main characteristics, getting enough sleep is essential. Also, you should try and exercise regularly. It may hurt at first but it will eventually reduce the pain significantly.