For many years now fibromyalgia patients have suffered from inexplicable pain, which had many doctors believing it was all just psychological or “in their heads”.
Now, fibromyalgia sufferers are validated. Researchers have isolated the main source of pain in these patients in the unlikeliest of places – excess blood vessels in the hand.
These excess blood vessels are a particular type of nerve fiber called arteriole-venue (AV) shunts. Researchers in thestudy, published in the Pain Medicine journal, examined the skin on the hand of a patient who had a lack of sensory nerve fibers, thus causing a reduced reaction to pain. Then they examined skin samples from the hands of other Fibromyalgia patients and found an excessive amounts of AV shunts.
Until then, AV shunt fibers were only thought to be responsible for blood flow regulation. Now, it has been discovered that there is a direct trail between these nerves and the whole body pain that many Fibromyalgia patients suffer.
Says neuroscientist Dr. Frank L. Rice,
We previously thought that these nerve endings were only involved in regulating blood flow at a subconscious level yet here we see evidences that the blood vessel endings could also contribute to our conscious sense of touch… and also pain. 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 [in] patients. This, in turn, could contribute to hyperactivity in the brain.
This discovery could lead to future effective treatments for the disease, as current treatments such as narcotic pain medicines, anti-seizure drugs and anti-depressants have failed to bring relief to millions of patients.
Additionally, this breakthrough could lead to the solving of the other lingering questions surrounding this mysterious ailment, such as the debilitating fatigue, extreme pain in hands and other specific points in the body, as well as why cold weather seems to worsen the symptoms.