Fibromyalgia is one of the most common and expensive health problems in America today. Dr. Anne Louise Oaklander, PhD, at Massachusetts General Hospital conducted a study on fibromyalgia patients due to the theory that fibromyalgia is related to small-fiber polyneuropathy (SFPN). Within her study, Dr. Oaklander found that nearly half of the fibromyalgia participants also had SFPN.
At US Neuropathy Centers, our goal is to treat peripheral neuropathy as a whole. We look at all aspects of a patient’s health to determine the best and most effective ways to treat and manage neuropathy symptoms. With nine locations across the United States, US Neuropathy Centers is the leading and most trusted neuropathy center in the country.
Fibromyalgia is a condition that stimulates widespread chronic pain. Small-fiber polyneuropathy produces similar symptoms to fibromyalgia, thus leading Dr. Oaklander to her hypothesis that the two conditions are related. For her study, she and fellow researchers analyzed 25 fibromyalgia patients over the age of 18. Twenty-nine control individuals were selected with a mean age of 44.8 years.
Applying consensus-recommended diagnostic tests for SFPN- standard diagnostic autonomic functioning testing, early neuropathy scale, and PGP9.5 pan-axonal marker- the researchers assessed intraepidermal nerve fiber densities. If a person has a nerve fiber density below a certain value (fifth percentile), they are considered to have small-fiber polyneuropathy. Dr. Oaklander says that half of the fibromyalgia patients had evidence of nerve loss. The overall test results showed that 46 percent of the fibromyalgia patients and 17 percent of the control participants were considered to have small-fiber polyneuropathy.
Dr. Oaklander points out that within her study, the participants who had evidence of SFPN turned out to have diabetes or pre-diabetes. These individuals didn’t even know they were affected by these conditions.
The significance of the results from the study is that “unlike with fibromyalgia, there are known causes of small-fiber polyneuropathy, many of which are amenable to treatment,” according to Dr. Oaklander. People affected with fibromyalgia now have “the possibility of improvement and perhaps even [a] cure.”
This body of research can be useful in explaining the pathophysiology of common pain presentations. Fibromyalgia patients may be able to receive treatment for small-fiber neuropathy in the future, and in turn have less pain. To learn more about causes of neuropathy and the available treatment options, contact a US Neuropathy Centers nearest you!
Read the full article of Dr. Oaklander’s study here: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/772864?src=mp
If you are suffering from neuropathy, please do not hesitate to call us at any of our US Neuropathy Centers locations. With offices in Arizona, California, Colorado, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming, our neuropathy experts are easily accessible and here to help.
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.
@US Neuropathy Centers, 2014