Patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia (a long-term condition that causes muscular pain and fatigue) complain of chronic all over their bodies, but often doctors have difficulty detecting what causes the pain, and therefore, how to treat it. However, a University of Florida (UF) study has approach the understanding about how chronic pain works in these patients.
Many fibromyalgia patients also complain of increased sensitivity to pain (hyperalgesia). The study, published in the journal European Journal of Pain, has found that injections of the painkiller lidocaine in peripheral tissues such as muscles in the shoulders or buttocks reduced hyperalgesia
Dr. Roland Staud, Professor of Medicine at the UF College of Medicine said: ““We hypothesized that if pain comes from the peripheral tissues, and we can take this pain away by injecting local anesthetics, then this would be indirect proof of the importance of peripheral tissues for the clinical pain of these individuals,”
Sixty-two women diagnosed with fibromyalgia participated in the study. Each woman received two injections in the trapezius muscles of the shoulders and the gluteal muscles of the buttocks, for a total of four injections per patient. The women were divided in two groups; one received saline, while the other lidocaine. Both groups were given main stimuli immediately before the injections and 30 minutes after.
While lidocaine injections significantly reduced hyperalgesia, the placebo injections did not. However, the study found that the lidocaine and saline placebo injections both resulted in a 38 percent reduction in patients’ clinical pain, or the pain a person feels at the point of injury as well as pain radiating throughout the area near the injury.
“The best way to treat chronic pain conditions is multidisciplinary and multimodal, looking at emotional, sensory and tissue damage. We know there are central and peripheral and social and behavioral components to someone saying, ‘Oh, it hurts,'” said Michael Robinson, Ph.D., director of the UF Center for Pain Research and Behavioral Health.
Dr. Staud said that treatment of chronic pain is difficult because doctors often can’t detect evidence of injury at the site where patients experience pain.
“Over-the-counter medications and prescriptions such as opiates aren’t really effective for controlling chronic pain conditions,” Staud said. “We are able to explain the pain of chronic patients better and manage it better. We are making progress but it will take time.”
Via: Medical News Today