Understanding Fibromyalgia

There are some new concepts relating to understanding the physiology of fibromyalgia. One of the latest concepts is that fibromyalgia is a disorder arising from a dysfunctional healing response of the fascia in the body. The fascia is the fibrous connective tissue that surrounds muscles, blood vessels and nerves.

The purpose of the fascia is to allow the muscle groups to slide or glide with less resistance, to help suspend organs, to help tie the tendons of muscles into the bones and to provide a protective layer around nerves and blood vessels as they pass through muscular layers.

Fascia is highly innervated and has numerous nerves endings. This tissue is highly sensitive. The most common cell in fascia is the fibroblast. When fibroblasts are under stress, they produce an abundance of inflammatory proteins such as interleukin 6 (IL-6) that lead to increased pain. This is a common finding in conditions such as tennis elbow and plantar fasciitis in the foot. If you can imagine the inflammatory process of these conditions applied to the whole body, you can imagine fibromyalgia.

The continual pain or nociceptive input into the brain from fascia that is not healing correctly causes the portion of the brain and central nervous system that controls pain to become more active or excitable. This is known as hyperalgesia. The hyperalgisic state causes the brain and central nervous system to process input in an exaggerated manner accounting for the decreased pain tolerance.

Over time persistent or intense pain input leads to neuroplastic changes within the brain resulting in central sensitization. Central sensitization occurs when only minimal input of nociception is required to maintain a chronic pain state. Research is still ongoing to determine what factors lead to the fascial dysfunction. A lack of growth hormone and other endocrine hormones may be tied in with fibromyalgia.

If you have questions regarding your particular case of fibromyalgia and what natural or holistic treatment options are available, contact Frisco Spinal Rehabilitation today. We are here to help people with fibromyalgia in the Frisco, Plano and Little Elm communities through education and chiropractic care.

Related: Fibromyalgia