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Fibromyalgia Update from Italy Shows Docs Taking It Seriously

01 Jun

Researchers from L. Sacco University Hospital in Milan, Italy undertook an updated review of the underlying mechanisms that produce fibromyalgia (FM), and summarize viable treatment options.  FM is described as a chronic pain syndrome characterized by widespread pain, fatigue, sleep alterations, and distress. 

The authors state that emerging evidence points to problems with augmented pain processing within the central nervous system holding a primary role in the pathophysiology of this disorder.
Recent studies have identified distinct FM subgroups on the basis of clinical, neurochemical, and neuroendocrinological abnormalities. These include increased cerebrospinal fluid levels of substance P; excitatory amino acids; and functional abnormalities in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, as well as in the  sympathoadrenal (autonomic nervous) system.

Additionally, the authors discuss how pharmacological treatments have been gradually enriched by a variety of compounds with varying results. These include antidepressants, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, opioids, sedatives, muscle relaxants, and alpha2-delta agonists. 

They state that physical exercise and multimodal cognitive-behavioral therapy appear to be the most widely accepted and beneficial forms of nonpharmacological therapy.

Citation:  Sarzi-Puttini P, Atzeni F, Cazzola M. Neuroendocrine therapy of fibromyalgia syndrome: an update. Annals of the New York Academy of Science. 2010 Apr; 1193 (1): pages 91-7.

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award