In the last four years, scientists believe they have discovered the main source of fibromyalgia pain. Here are the details.
Fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain conditions. The condition affects at least 4 million adults in the United States, and occurs most commonly in women. Unfortunately, the root pain source has fooled researchers and medical professionals for decades. In the past four years, however, scientists believe they have discovered the main source of fibromyalgia pain. Here are the details.
Scientists discovered the main source of fibromyalgia pain
What Causes Fibromyalgia Pain? According to scientists, the answer is too much nerves. Excess nerves in the blood vessels can be the main culprit. For decades, fibromyalgia patients were told their condition was in their heads. No one but the patients themselves can experience the severe pain, fatigue, and stiffness associated with the condition.
Unfortunately, this meant that her suffering was often dismissed as a psychological problem.
Now, however, researchers believe they have reduced the root cause of fibromyalgia pain. For whatever reason, fibromyalgia patients begin to develop an unmanageable number of nerves in the blood vessels in the palms of their hands.
The discovery was made in 2013, when a team led by neurologist Frank Rice of Albany Medical Center in New York found an abnormal number of nerve fibers within the blood vessels of the skin on the palms of fibromyalgia patients.
At this time, no one knows if the abnormal number of nerves is specific to the hands or if this excess is found throughout the body.
However, the presence of these nerves in the hands and feet could explain a lot about fibromyalgia symptoms. Blood vessels in the hands and feet help control body temperature and the speed of blood flow. If there is a problem with blood flow, the proper amount of blood may not reach the correct places in the body, including the muscles.
Blood carries vital oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Without adequate blood flow, muscles may not receive the nutrients they need to function and heal properly. This can also cause a buildup of lactic acid, which is the culprit for sore muscles after exercise. In general, impaired blood flow can lead to pain, fatigue, and muscle cramps.
Can cannabis help?
Even with this new information, effective fibromyalgia treatments are hard to find. However, cannabis can help. A survey published in 2014 found that 62 percent of fibromyalgia patients who used cannabis reported that the herb was “very effective” in reducing pain and alleviating symptoms of the disease. Another 33 percent said the herb “helps a little.”
These figures are significantly better than those achieved by some of the more common fibromyalgia treatments. The same survey found that only 8 percent of patients taking Cymbalta reported that the drug was “very effective.” For Lyrica and Savella, that number increased to 10 percent.
To capitalize on the success of herbs and provide patients with a more effective option for relief, a pharmaceutical company is betting on a new topical solution. In November 2016, Cannabis Science, Inc. announced that they intend to develop transdermal pain patches to treat fibromyalgia and diabetic nerve pain. However, patients can still wait a while before the products hit the market.
Meanwhile, those interested in experimenting with transdermal patches have a couple of options. Mary’s Nutritionals offers patches infused with non-psychoactive cannabis compounds online. Residents in legal cannabis states such as Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Illinois, New Hampshire, Nevada, and Arizona can access THC-infused patches through Mary’s Medicinals.