Does Fibromyalgia Pain Come From The Brain’s Immune System?

Headaches, widespread pain, and sensitivity to light — do these abnormal fibromyalgia pains stem from a part of the central nervous system’s dedicated immune system? Recent research from The National Center for Biotechnology Information suggests the answer might very well be “yes“.

Pain associated with fibromyalgia involves the abnormal pain types hyperalgesia and allodynia. Hyperalgesia is pain amplification and allodynia is pain from something that normally wouldn’t hurt (i.e. a light tap on the arm or a too tight waistband).

In this new study, researchers used stress to induce hyperalgesia and allodynia in rats. Interestingly, the rats did not show damage or inflammation in the painful tissues. This in turn suggested an alternative cause of pain. Perhaps the brain’s immune system? They also discovered abnormally high levels of activated microglia in the rats’ spinal cords.

It is important to note that the brain and spinal cord make up your central nervous system, which has its own immune system; separate from the one that protects the rest of your body.

Of course further testing must be completed in humans (especially those with FMS and ME/CFS). However, the research concluded that some mechanism may be activating microglia, and that excess microglia may lead to hyperalgesia and allodynia.

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