Fibromyalgia sufferers are well aware that pain and discomfort can easily be triggered by certain sensory experiences like light, sound, and touch. Sometimes, even the softest noise can sound like pots and pans banging around the kitchen sink. But is this sensory overload a symptom of fibromyalgia? Or is ineffective sensory processing linked to the cause of fibromyalgia? Let’s look at the facts.
Although scientists and doctors have been researching the cause of fibromyalgia for decades, there has been no conclusive evidence that proves the cause of the condition. It’s very frustrating, which is why the researchers continue to look for answers.
One study shows that in people with fibromyalgia, there is an altered central processing response to multi-sensory stimulation. This means that when several sensations hit their brain, instead of each sensation being interpreted correctly, the wires get crossed and confused. For example, a fibromyalgia patient might not be able to tune out the conversation from two tables over while dining with friends, or they might get dizzy while having a conversation when sitting in the passenger seat of a moving car.
This research was gathered from 60 people (35 fibromyalgia patients) who were set up on a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) device and tested for sensorial responses. Of the fibromyalgia patients, all were shown to have irregular responses to the stimulations.
This could prove that these neurological irregularities might be a cause of fibromyalgia pain to begin with and might be an important step in proving to doctors that the pain isn’t all in your head. Fibromyalgia has a long history of doctors trying to put the blame on psychological disorders, when that might not be the whole story.
Important research like this study will be the building blocks for doctors and scientists to discover the complexities of this mysterious disease. But in the here and now, we know that fibromyalgia is real and causes uncomfortable pain from many different sensations. Knowing why this happens will help us understand the pain and make us stronger for the future.