Fibromyalgia is the second most common rheumatic disorder behind osteoarthritis and, though still widely misunderstood, is now considered to be a lifelong central nervous system disorder, which is responsible for amplified pain that shoots through the body in those who suffer from it.
Daniel Clauw, M.D., professor of anesthesiology, University of Michigan analyzed the neurological basis for fibromyalgia and presented findings from his research at the American Pain Society Annual Meeting.
“Fibromyalgia can be thought of both as a discrete disease and also as a final common pathway of pain centralization and chronification. Most people with this condition have lifelong histories of chronic pain throughout their bodies,”
Clauw explained that fibromyalgia pain comes more from the brain and spinal cord than from areas of the body in which someone may experience peripheral pain. The condition is believed to be associated with disturbances in how the brain processes pain and other sensory information.
He said physicians should suspect fibromyalgia in patients with multifocal (mostly musculoskeletal) pain that is not fully explained by injury or inflammation.
“It takes away your dreams, your hopes, and your happy moments. It makes loved ones grimace when they see you. It makes friends and family disappear. It isolates you into a tiny box until all that was you no longer remains,”
“Because pain pathways throughout the body are amplified in fibromyalgia patients, pain can occur anywhere, so chronic headaches, visceral pain and sensory hyper-responsiveness are common in people with this painful condition,”