We’ve all heard many, many claims of a possible cause of Fibromyalgia before. This one is different, and plausible sounding. Even better, it could lead to real treatments that work. Note I’m still a bit skeptical on an actual cure, but read on.
A New York based research company called Intidyn (Integrated Tissue Dynamics), discovered an unknown nervous tissue function among blood cells three years ago. As published in the medical journal PAIN:
As Dr. Rice explained, “we analyzed the skin of a particularly interesting patient who lacked all the numerous varieties of sensory nerve endings in the skin that supposedly accounted for our highly sensitive and richly nuanced sense of touch. Interestingly however, this patient had surprisingly normal function in day to day tasks. But, the only sensory endings we detected in his skin were those around the blood vessels”. Dr. Rice continued, “We previously thought that these nerve endings were only involved in regulating blood flow at a subconscious level, yet here we had evidence that the blood vessel endings could also contribute to our conscious sense of touch… and also pain.”
What followed was a study made by renowned Albany Medical Center neurologist and pain specialist Dr. Charles E. Argoff and postdoctoral researcher Dr. Quanzhi Hou of a small skin biopsy in the hands of Fibromyalgia patients. They discovered that these Fibromyalgia patients had “an enormous increase in sensory nerve fibers at specific sites within the blood vessels of the skin. These critical sites are tiny muscular valves, called arteriole-venule (AV) shunts, which form a direct connection between arterioles and venules (see diagram).”
Fibromyalgia and Controlling Body Heat
What is particularly interesting about this is that these vascular shunts help control body heat. If blood flow also helps manage body temperature, and Fibromyalgia patients have a mismanagement of blood flow issue, it stands to reason that we would have an overheating issue as well. Becoming excessively sensitive to heat and cold. I know I am. This also may seem to make sense of another typical Fibromyalgia symptom, sensitivity to touch. Many Fibromites cannot abide being touched, and some cannot stand their own clothing at times. I wonder if this blood flow issue could also explain my frequent hand pain?
Many Fibromyalgia patients I know have issues with feeling flushed or overheated all the time, including myself. I often find myself reminding the hubby that I can’t control my own body temperature, that it’s not my fault I feel hot all the darned time. I have to have a fan on me 24/7, especially when I sleep. Most of the time, this flush issue is controlled with blood pressure pills. Sometimes they don’t seem to matter and I’m feeling like I have a heck of a fever, when I don’t. Nor am I likely to be experiencing early menopause, I’m a bit too young for that. Other than the flushing and body heat issues, I don’t have any other typical menopause symptoms. I’m sure many Fibromites reading this can relate!
The doctors involved in the study feel that this blood flow concern could very well be the cause of Fibromyalgia symptoms. Muscle pain, achiness, fatigue, hyper-activeness of the brain, cognitive dysfunction, and non-restorative sleep.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if this study led to Fibromyalgia treatments that really work or even *gasp* (dare I say it?) lead to a cure once and for all. I sincerely hope something is found soon, for all of us suffering with Fibromyalgia pain and symptoms the world over.
Light and love to you all!
Image credit: StudyBlue.com