Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fibromyalgia Pain Caused By Neuron Mismatch, Suggests Study

Date:
November 2, 2007
Source:
University of Bath
Summary:
The unexplained pain experienced by patients with fibromyalgia is the result of a mismatch between sensory and motor systems, new research suggests. Scientists note that this finding adds to a growing body of evidence that many of the symptoms of this common disorder may be perpetuated, or even triggered, by the sensory-motor conflict researchers identified.

The unexplained pain experienced by patients with fibromyalgia is the result of a mismatch between sensory and motor systems, new research suggests.

Related Articles


In a study published in the journal Rheumatology, researchers asked patients to look at a reflection of one arm whilst moving their other in a different direction which was hidden behind the mirror.

This created a mismatch between what the brain sees via sensory input and what it feels through the motor system that controls movement.

Of the 29 patients involved in the study, 26 reported feeling a transient increase in pain, temperature change or heaviness in their hidden limb - all symptoms of a ‘flare up’ of their condition. This suggests that a mismatch between sensory and motor neurons could be at the root of the fibromyalgia – a condition affecting one in 100 people in the UK at some stage of their lives.

“The chronic pain experienced by people with fibromyalgia is hard to understand because there are no obvious clinical signs that pain should be experienced,” said Dr Candy McCabe, one of the researchers involved in the University of Bath and Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases study. We have shown that by confusing the motor and sensory systems we can exacerbate the symptoms felt by people diagnosed with the condition.

“This adds to a growing body of evidence that many of the symptoms of this common disorder may be perpetuated, or even triggered, by this sensory-motor conflict.

“We have had some success to date in using a similar technique to help alleviate the symptoms of this kind of chronic pain. This works by helping the brain to see a limb moving freely without pain – although in reality it is a reflection of their pain-free limb.”

Volunteers in the study were asked to perform a series of bilateral upper and lower limb movements with a mirror in front of them at a right-angle. This meant that one limb was obscured from view behind the mirror whilst they could clearly see the other limb and its reflection.

They first carried out the same movements with both limbs, and then made different movements. This enabled the researchers to see what effect confusing what the brain could see with what it could feel.

“Nearly all of the group reported an increase in the sensations connected with their condition in the hidden limb,” said Dr McCabe, who works in the University's School for Health. “This provides strong evidence that sensory-motor conflict is at the heart of this condition. Some clinicians do not recognise fibromyalgia as a diagnosis because of a lack of clinical reason for the pain.

“It is often considered to be a reflection of anxiety or attention seeking behaviour which, for people with the condition, can be very hard to deal with. Nevertheless, fibromyalgia is one of the most common conditions seen by rheumatologists."

“Hopefully we are beginning to understand more about the condition, and taking steps towards how it might be treated in the future.”

People with fibromyalgia complain of widespread pain, multiple tender points, stiffness, sleep disturbance and fatigue.

Around nine out of ten of those affected by fibromyalgia are women. In most cases it develops between the ages of 30 and 60, but it can develop in people of any age, including children and the elderly. There are around 14,700 new cases in the UK each year.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bath. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Bath. "Fibromyalgia Pain Caused By Neuron Mismatch, Suggests Study." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071030220054.htm>.
University of Bath. (2007, November 2). Fibromyalgia Pain Caused By Neuron Mismatch, Suggests Study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071030220054.htm
University of Bath. "Fibromyalgia Pain Caused By Neuron Mismatch, Suggests Study." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071030220054.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins