A recent study was conducted on a group of women in the UK to detect the cause of fibromyalgia. The research showed that pain and fatigue that is typically associated with fibromyalgia is due to variations that occur in the brain waves. The study was published in European Journal of Pain and focuses on the effect of fibromyalgia on the brain.
It has been made clear from some previous studies that chronic pain in the body tends to affect the brain, significantly. However, there is still a conflict between whether the issues in brain activity are results of chronic pain or whether it is due to sensitivity to pain that is experienced by the sufferer. This is why, in the mentioned study, the relationship between fibromyalgia symptoms and brain were seen while the brain was in resting state.
- The research was conducted on a subject group of 40 people.
- 18 of the patients did not suffer from the condition.
- 19 of them were sufferers of fibromyalgia.
- All participants were females.
- The data was collected through Electroencephalographic techniques, more commonly known as EEG.
Method of the Research
In the study, the effect of different oscillations in waves was measured. The waves were in the alpha, beta, gamma, theta and delta bands of frequency and they all had different effects.
It was found as a result that the patient of fibromyalgia were more severely affected by the oscillations that the normal ones. The factors that were measures were arousal, mood, and sensation of pain by the subjects.
- The patients felt fatigued.
- The felt more pain.
- They have a low mood.
The fibromyalgia patients’ brains showed more theta activity in the prefrontal and anterior cortical region. Oscillations in both these regions lead to less effectiveness of the body towards inhibition of pain. Subjects who suffer from fibromyalgia showed signs of tenderness and more sensitivity to pain when exposed to theta oscillations.
On the other hand, the other subjects had no such effect and there was not even a minor effect on their mood. According to the researchers, the following things were observed during the study:
- When oscillations are altered in the resting state of the brain, it induces pain and tenderness in the body.
- The effect of these oscillations is in the regions of the brains that deal with pain inhibition.
- Moreover, the areas of the brain that are concerned with pain processing are also affected by the oscillations.
When there is an increase in the theta activity in the frontal region of the cortex, it leads to a constant sensation of pain in fibromyalgia patients. This could also be the cause of symptoms of the disease extending over a long time.
The team of researchers said that if there are advances made in the field of neurological science related to normalizing the expression and extent of oscillations in the brain, it could be a revolutionary step towards pain inhibition in patients suffering from fibromyalgia. More research needs to be conducted in the field to determine whether these oscillations can be normalized.