Brain Scans Show Fibromyalgia Patients Process Pain Differently

Activity in certain regions suggests why they're less able to prepare for pain or respond to pain relief

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However, there are some drawbacks to the study and its conclusions.

Loggia noted that the altered brain activity could be explained away by the fact that fibromyalgia patients endure constant pain and the disorder has altered the brain response, instead of the other way around.

"The healthy volunteers go from a state of no pain to a state of pain," he said. "But fibromyalgia patients go from a lower level of pain to a higher level of pain, which could affect the way they process the pain and relief cues."

In addition, the researchers failed to compare the response of fibromyalgia patients to that of people with other chronic pain conditions, Kassel said.

"This may not be something caused by fibromyalgia," he said. "It could be something that just happens in most chronic pain patients."

More information

For more information on fibromyalgia, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

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