New research indicates that a disruption of brain signals for reward and punishment contributes to increased pain sensitivity, known as hyperalgesia, in fibromyalgia patients.
“In patients with fibromyalgia there is an alteration in the central nervous system pain processing and a poor response to topical pain treatments, trigger point injections and opioids,” said lead author Dr. Marco Loggia from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. “Our study examines the disruption of brain function involved in the individual experience of pain anticipation and pain relief.“
Results show that during pain anticipation and relief, fibromyalgia patients displayed less robust response within brain regions involved in sensory, affective, cognitive and pain regulating processes.
Our findings suggest that fibromyalgia patients exhibit altered brain responses to punishing and rewarding events, such as expectancy of pain and relief of pain. These observations may contribute to explain the heightened sensitivity to pain, as well as the lack of effectiveness of pain medications such as opioids, observed in these patients.
From study published at “Disrupted Brain Circuitry for Pain-Related Reward/Punishment in Fibromyalgia.”