Fibromyalgia and the Brain: New Clues

Fibromyalgia and the Brain: New Clues Reveal How Pain and Therapies are Processed

Previous studies indicate that fibromyalgia patients have increased sensitivity to temperature, touch, and pressure.

Moreover, some of Dr. Harris’s previous work demonstrated that people with fibromyalgia produce an increased amount of endogenous opioid peptides (also known as endorphins that naturally relieve pain) that act on the brain’s μ-opioid receptors to “naturally” reduce pain.

Other work by this same group showed that the fibromyalgia brain displays an enhanced response to painful stimuli, suggesting a problem with pain processing.

This current study sought to determine if these two factors, altered function of μ-opioid receptors and enhanced brain response to pain, actually occur simultaneously within the same group of people with fibromyalgia – and within the same brain regions

strong negative association between the brain’s response to pain and the binding availability of μ-opioid receptors

For the first time, this study shows that μ-opioid receptor binding is tightly associated with the brain’s response to pain in fibromyalgia. The data leads researchers to speculate that some individuals with fibromyalgia may have a down-regulation or decrease in opioid receptor activity that may exaggerate pain sensitivity. Moreover, these same individuals are likely to not benefit from opioid medications as they may have fewer functioning receptors.

From http://www.newswise.com/articles/fibromyalgia-and-the-brain-new-clues-reveal-how-pain-and-therapies-are-processed

Also published last year from http://psychologyofpain.blogspot.com/2012/11/fibromyalgia-and-brain-new-clues-reveal.html

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