The term "fibromyalgia pain" is really a gross oversimplification; we have many different types of pain, and it's my opinion that we won't ever have effective pain treatments unless researchers start treating different types of pain as, well, different.
The most common kind of fibromyalgia pain, and the best researched, is hyperalgesia. "Hyper" means excess and "algesia" means pain. Hyperalgesia is the medical term for pain amplification in FMS. Our brains appear to take normal pain signals and "turn up the volume," making them more severe than they would normally be. That appears to happen through a complex process involving high levels of brain activity in the pain centers, not enough serotonin, and too much glutamate.
The important thing to remember about hyperalgesia is that it doesn't directly cause pain, it makes existing pain worse. If you have arthritis, myofascial pain syndrome, or other sources of chronic pain, it's important to treat those conditions aggressively. That gives your brain less to amplify, and can often quiet down your other symptoms as well.
This is just my opinion, but I think this is why some of us get relief from opiates/narcotics and anti-inflammatories. If those drugs work on your underlying pain condition, they help lower your fibro pain. If fibromyalgia is your only source of chronic pain, those drugs are less likely to work for you. This could help explain why studies show opiates and NSAIDS are ineffective for us -- they only do research on people without other pain conditions.
What fuels your hyperalgesia? Have you been able to treat it? What has helped, and what hasn't? Leave your comments below!
Learn more or join the conversation!
- 7 Types of Fibromyalgia Pain
- Medical Evidence of Fibromyalgia Pain
- The Monster List of Fibromyalgia Symptoms
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