Brain Mapping and Fibromyalgia – Can It Help Pinpoint the Source?

BY TIFFANY VANCE-HUFFMAN

Ever since it was discovered to be a disorder, specialists have tried to determine the causes of fibromyalgia and the problems that can come with the disorder. There have been a variety of different tests employed on the disorder, and the more that we do with it, the more we discover exactly what is going on.

In recent years, brain mapping has been used in order to help determine the issues and causes related to fibromyalgia. There are so many cognitive issues that occur with the disease that it’s important to understand what’s going on up there. But what is brain mapping? And what can we learn about the mind and fibromyalgia from the tests that happen with brain mapping? These are the questions that we need to answer before we even think about using brain mapping in order to determine our treatment plan for our fibromyalgia symptoms.

What Is Brain Mapping?

Brain mapping is when they use electromagnetic technology (usually in the form of microelectrodes), in order to determine the brain’s electric activity. There are ways that the brain normally communicates with itself, and then there are irregularities that can be seen when brain mapping is completed. Sometimes, it’s obvious what is going on in there, but other times, the researchers can notice irregularities that are not very common, thus allowing them to add to the research that is going on about the disorder in question (in our case, we’re talking about fibromyalgia).

You get to hang out in a chair or on a cot (depending on where you have the procedure performed), and they put a cap on you, over your hair. They hook up the little electrodes, and then they tell you to do a number of different activities in order to map your brain’s activities.

They aren’t really strenuous activities – you’re just moving your eyes, looking around, reading information, or doing logic or math puzzles. Then, as you’re doing these different activities, the map starts to develop with a number of different colors all over it. The different colors indicate activity.

And, for your information, it’s important that you note that this is a completely safe procedure. There is no radioactivity produced as part of the process. The nodes are completely electric, and there isn’t any pain for it either. You don’t have to worry about a thing, and honestly, you shouldn’t, because additional stress can cause the information to become flawed or the map to be inaccurate. So relax, don’t take any stimulants before your test, and go in ready to relax and do what they say for a few hours. It’s no big deal!

What Can Brain Mapping Show Us About Fibromyalgia and Other Related Disorders?

Now that we’ve taken a closer look at brain mapping and we understand how it works, we need to take a closer look and understand what brain mapping can tell us about fibromyalgia. As you likely know, fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes the brain to give off false signals, thus making it so that your body feels pain when it shouldn’t feel pain. This oversensitivity is what causes us to feel stiff and to have a difficult time moving around. It can also cause us to feel stress and anxiety as well.

The issue with fibromyalgia is that we are still trying to figure out what the source of the disorder is in the first place. What happens that makes us so sensitive? And what is going on in the brain in order to make it so that we’re constantly feeling pain all over. Since fibromyalgia is usually characterized by the overstimulation, the brain mapping allows us to see what is going on in there. This allows us to determine exactly what is going on and get a bigger picture, thus helping us to put together the puzzle of what is going on in the mind.

But how does this help you, as the fibromyalgia patient? It can assist your specialist with determining exactly what problems are going on. If you’re dealing with mental health issues, like anxiety or depression, the brain map can show what parts of the brain are causing that to happen, thus allowing the doctor to determine the best way for them to treat the illness (with medication, therapy, etc).

If you are fighting off fibro fog or having problems paying attention, that will be noticeable and the doctor can prescribe treatment that will help to “turn off” or “slow down” the part of the brain that is causing it to occur. In general, it helps your doctor to give you more specialized care.

It’s not always necessary, but brain mapping can be a huge deal and may be able to help eliminate or reduce symptoms that you haven’t been able to get control of with other forms of treatment. Many doctors will recommend it if they find that you aren’t able to deal with your pain after a few months of treatment, as well. Brain mapping, in general, is continuing to advance, and it may be the key that we need in order to determine what the causes of the disorder are.

If you’ve been interested in what is going on with the world of fibromyalgia or you want to play a role in helping researchers to determine what is going on with the disorder, allowing them to do brain mapping on you can be a huge contribution. There are always research studies going on, and many times, you can find a way to get in on them.

Your doctor may even suggest it as a way to determine exactly what is going on and to figure out a treatment plan that will work well for your particular issues. Overall, since the procedure is safe and doesn’t cause any issues that will make your fibromyalgia worse, it’s definitely something that you should bring to your doctor as a suggestion.

Further reading:

Timing is everything: www.bodyinmind.org/fmri-brain-mapping-fibromyalgia-pain-matrix-research/

Brain Mapping: www.fibromyalgia-symptoms.org/fibromyalgia_brain.html

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