“Fibromyalgia Solved”

A recent article in the Washington Times claims that the cause of Fibro has been found. The cynic in me is tempted to call the title sensationalized and exaggerated, and I am insulted by the author’s suggestion that “those who suffer from this ‘syndrome’ can now rest assured it is not all in their minds,” Um, hi? We already knew that.

But perhaps the findings are promising for more effective treatments? Or is this idea is just another researcher’s flash-in-the-pan…


Fibromyalgia solved; A pathology, not

in the mind 

New research uncovers the cause of fibromyalgia. Photo: Flickr Commons

WASHINGTON, October 17, 2013— The National Biotechnology Information Center (NBIC) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently released the findings of research funded by grants from Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals and Forest Laboratories that claim to have discovered a causative pathology (the science of cause and effect)  for fibromyalgia.

The cause of the disease escaped researchers for years. In fact, the condition was considered by many in the field of medicine as psychosomatic (in the mind) because of the variety of symptoms that could not be clinically pinned down and patient reporting was the primary criteria.

Dr. Frank Rice writes of findings at Integrated Tissue Dynamics that has made a major discovery of the cause of fibromyalgia, making diagnosis more certain and explaining the multitude of varied symptoms and effect.

Research has identified alterations in our core body temperature is a culprit, as our blood acts as a coolant in much the same fashion water does in the radiator of a car. Our major organs and active muscles require a constant temperature of about 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit but sufferers cannot maintain a steady temperature.

If we lose too much heat (hypothermia) or gain too much heat (hyperthermia), our body’s primary thermostat, the hypothalamus, struggles to maintain balance. Our blood is the means by which our body and brain get nutrients, oxygen and takes away waste and blood flow is disrupted.

When we use our muscles, particularly the hands and feet, blood flows between the skin and muscles and must be kept in balance. We have internal thermostat controls distant from the hypothalamus called aterio-venous shunts or AV shunts that act as valves between arterioles or veins that supply the good stuff and venules which carry away waste.

Much as the body as a whole, these must be in synch for homeostasis.

The smallest part of our blood supply system is the capillaries which are tiny vessels that act as temperature regulators (among many other functions) and either conserve or release heat. Capillaries run throughout or bodies and are highly concentrated in our hands and feet.  It has long been known that when malfunctioned from injury or another pathological issue, capillary function is diminished causing problems for diabetics.

Now it has been discovered when the AV shunt is defective in function and interferes with capillary function, muscle and skin tissue cannot get proper nutrition or waste drawn away. Additionally, temperature regulation becomes an issue affecting nerve fibers.

One result is a build-up of lactic acid in muscle and deeper tissue affecting the muscular system and causes pain that can seem to ‘travel’ from areas of the body one day to the next and cause fatigue, commonly reported from victims of fibromyalgia.

The sympathetic nervous system which uses the spinal cord for communication and the sensory fibers or nerve fibers that carry signals to the central nervous system, can have their communication disrupted by the results of AV shunt disorder and hypersensitized nerves send pain signals that can ‘travel’ as well.

The American Academy of Pain Medicine featured this research on its front cover accompanied by a laudatory editorial from Robert Gerwin of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. To date, the research is confined to women since women seem to suffer from fibromyalgia in greater numbers than men.

According to this research, fibromyalgia has pathology and is not psychosomatic so those who suffer from this ‘syndrome’ can now rest assured it is not all in their minds.

Paul Mountjoy is a Virginia based writer and psychotherapist.

Source: http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/steps-authentic-happiness-positive-psychology/2013/oct/17/fibromyalgia-solved-pathology-not-mind/#ixzz2irfMIX00



  1. This feels like a lightbulb moment, reading this just screams to me, “You have this, this makes so much sense…” I’m not sure whether it makes me feel any better though, the people I know that have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, all have had terrible experience with doctors, the care they receive, etc. Makes me afraid if I ever find out that’s what’s going on with me, it’s going to be difficult to find a doctor in my area that will take it seriously, me seriously.

  2. This article follows up with more information on the article above I was diagnosed with what they categorized as severe FM in 1993 as a result of an accident and when it was really not recognized… so anything that says, yep, its real.. just makes you feel better.

    Fibromyalgia pain: Resetting the hypothalamus with diet, sleep, excercise

    A recent report from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), based on research by Dr.’s Rice and Albrecht suggests blocked AV shunts in the hands and feet do not permit the smallest blood vessels called ‘capillaries’ from exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide, providing nutrients and receiving warmed blood thus affecting the function of hypothalamus. The hypothalamus, located in the brain, is the gland that regulates body temperature.

    Read more: http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/steps-authentic-happiness-positive-psychology/2013/oct/31/fibromyalgia-hot-cold-and-painful/
    Follow us: @wtcommunities on Twitter

    1. The writer has yet another article in the works. How we can use sleep, diet, excercise to make a difference in our pain management. These are things we know… but it is still hard to do!

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