Healthy Living

5 Studies on Fibromyalgia

5 Studies on Fibromyalgia

Key Takeaways

  • Some studies are testing what medications can help fibromyalgia patients.
  • One study is about the journey of fibromyalgia patients, from observing the first symptoms and being diagnosed with fibromyalgia to subsequent treatment.
  • Another study is focusing on the pain of fibromyalgia patients and what is causing it. 

Up to now, there has been no universally acknowledged cure for fibromyalgia. The number of symptoms constantly bothering a person with this syndrome can sometimes lead to anxiety and depression. Given that only less than 10% of people are recorded to have fibromyalgia, patients with this condition might feel that they’re alone in this battle. Of course, that’s not true.

Its cause is yet to be known, but numerous funding and research projects for fibromyalgia have been conducted since the 70’s. In fact, the studies continue to develop until today. These projects aim to provide a better understanding and discover new ways to deal with this illness. So, if you’re one of the fibromyalgia patients around the world, this article is for your encouragement. You are not alone in this struggle. Here are five research projects that help the world deal with fibromyalgia.

1. A Study on Milnacipran (Brigham and Women’s Hospital)

Brigham and Women’s Hospital is a Teaching Affiliate of Harvard Medical School and is one of the institutions that are conducting a funding and research plan for fibromyalgia. Their study is still ongoing. Their objective is to test whether Milnacipran is effective in reducing widespread pain. You might be familiar with Milnacipran because it is a licensed drug in some parts of the world, particularly in the US. While there are already other concluded studies that Milnacipran is effective as a pain reliever only to a minority, this research by Brigham and Women’s Hospital seeks to investigate its effect on non-joint pain and pain sensitivity. It has been observed that Paracetamol and Ibuprofen are not effective in relieving the pain caused by fibromyalgia. Hence, this study gives us a more helpful substitute to treat widespread pain. Click this here for an overview of their research.

Moreover, there is also a study being conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital that helps people manage fibromyalgia symptoms with yoga-based exercise. This research is focused on the physiological aspects and seeks to understand how the different symptoms are connected to each other.

2. A Patient’s Journey (Health and Life Science Department- Glasgow Caledonian University)

Just like other illness, it is important to share your journey with the community. Your experiences will surely help ongoing research and also benefit those who are undergoing the same condition. This is why this study at Glasgow Caledonian University is helpful. The university’s Health and Life Science Department is conducting studies about the journey of fibromyalgia patients, from observing the first symptoms and being diagnosed with fibromyalgia to subsequent treatment. The result of this funding and research for fibromyalgia is essential to further understand the treatment of this syndrome.

Please click this here if you would like to participate in their survey. If you know anyone with fibromyalgia, you may refer them to venture.

3. Why do we feel pain? (Stanford University Systems Neuroscience and Pain Lab)

Have you ever asked why our bodies feel pain? As a fibromyalgia patient, you may already have asked yourself that question many times. Stanford’s Neuroscience lab just concluded a survey for their study about the pain that is felt by patients with fibromyalgia. In their study, they took pictures of the brain and spine of patients with the use of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). The survey also included sensory tests and questionnaires. It is commonly believed that patients with fibromyalgia have a lower threshold of pain. Their findings would be very interesting and vital to the search for a better treatment of pain in general. The results of their study will be published before the end of the year 2017. You may check this page for updates.

At present, Stanford University also conducted a study on relieving the pain caused by fibromyalgia. Results show that by taking Low-Dose Naltrexone, patients experienced significant relief from pain. They also observed that the participants experienced improvement in their mood and general satisfaction in life. Read about their study here. It is worth noting that the work in Pain Medicine at The Stanford University has a stable funding and research for fibromyalgia. With a long list of financial supporters, it is inevitable for this institution to contribute more to the treatment of this medical condition.

4. Evaluating Cold Application (Researchers from Turkey)

These two researchers set off to test the treating of the most felt symptom of fibromyalgia by using cold application. Naside Yilmaz (Erzurum Regional Training and Research Hospital) and Emine Kiyak (Internal Medicine Department, Ataturk University) – both from Turkey – found out that the said treatment can significantly reduce back muscle pain. The trapezius is a major muscle found in the upper back and neck. These body parts are usually affected by widespread pain caused by fibromyalgia. Our body uses this muscle to move and rotate the shoulder blades. It also holds the neck and head. The trapezius is involved in a lot of movements, and therefore, relieving muscle pain in these areas is definitely consoling.  

Before their study, applying cold gels on back muscles is not yet backed by research. Because of the work of Yilmaz and Kiyak, patients can be comforted by the fact that there is a simple remedy for muscle pain in their homes. This also contributes to further research and will serve as a guide for pain management in hospitals. Read more about their study here.

5. The Ambroxol’s Effect (Researchers from Mexico)

One of the agreed details about fibromyalgia is that it is neuropathic, which involves the transmission of pain through the nerves. Incidentally, Ambroxol is already being used to treat various airway disorders. This drug is mainly used for respiratory difficulties. A group of researchers from Mexico believes that Ambroxol is efficient in blocking sodium channels, which are believed to be responsible for pain transmission. Interestingly, it is found to be 13 times more effective as compared to other calcium channel blockers. Laura-Aline Martínez-Martínez, Luis-Fernando Pérez, Lizbeth-Teresa Becerril-Mendoza, and several other researchers evaluated the effect of Ambroxol to pain management in fibromyalgia.

This research in Mexico also required the participants to answer several questions related to pain, their outlook on life, and their mental health. At the end of the study, they found an overall improvement in many symptoms. There were no major side effects reported, which means this work has a potential to be widely acknowledged as safe and effective. However, it is still labeled as a pilot study and further research is to be conducted.

Fibromyalgia Patients Are Not Alone

Funding and research for fibromyalgia are plenty. These are just five of the hundreds, if not thousands, of efforts being conducted worldwide. There are also many organizations that collate these efforts and provide a caring community for patients. There are awareness movements that help educate the public about this disease and fund-raising activities that support various fibromyalgia-related projects.

If you are a patient having this syndrome, these works may be encouraging. Knowing that you are not alone in this battle is a source of comfort. It promotes confidence and gives strength. If you are a person with a fibromyalgia patient in your family, take advantage of these projects to support your loved ones. The guidance and care that you can provide are essential to them.