Swedish Study Looks at Inflammatory Factors Related to Fibromyalgia Pain

Swedish Study Looks at Inflammatory Factors Related to Fibromyalgia Pain

In patients with fibromyalgia, the central nervous system is inflamed, as is the rest of the body, according to a study that found a large range of increased inflammatory factors in the blood and spinal fluid of fibromyalgia patients.

But the study could not demonstrate if the increased inflammation causes, or is a risk factor for, pain in fibromyalgia — or if it’s a consequence thereof. In addition, other disease-related factors such as inactivity, depression, poor sleep or pain-related stress have all been linked to increased low-grade inflammation.

The study, Evidence of both systemic inflammation and neuroinflammation in fibromyalgia patients, as assessed by a multiplex protein panel applied to the cerebrospinal fluid and to plasma,” appeared in the Journal of Pain Research.

Plenty of research has shown that fibromyalgia patients seem to have what researchers call central sensitization — a condition in which nerve connections in the spinal cord and brain get overly sensitive to stimuli, also reacting with pain when there is no real pain-causing event.

But studies of chronic pain also show that inflammation often accompanies other molecular changes. Earlier attempts to analyze inflammatory factors in fibromyalgia exist, but most studies have looked at a few factors at a time, which only gives researchers a limited view of what is going on.

To overcome this, Swedish researchers at Linköping University and Uppsala University gathered 40 fibromyalgia patients to perform a large-scale analysis of 92 inflammatory factors simultaneously. Researchers took blood and cerebrospinal fluid samples from the patients, as well as from healthy controls. The screening revealed increased levels of inflammation markers in patients’ blood plasma and cerebrospinal fluid. The profiles of inflammatory markers were distinctly different in patients and controls, and also differed between blood and spinal fluid.

Although the findings suggest that fibromyalgia patients have an ongoing inflammation that affects both the body and the brain and spinal cord, researchers underscored that many factors that could have influenced the result.

For instance, body weight can affect inflammatory signaling, and the team did not have access to participants’ body mass index measurements. In addition, measuring inflammatory factors is fraught with technical difficulties, as the initial handling of samples has an effect on making correct measurements. In the study, patient and control samples came from different sources, introducing a potential bias.

Also, a comparison between patients and controls reveal nothing about how inflammatory changes relate to the disease.

“Whether our findings are a risk factor for, a direct mirror of, or a consequence of the pathophysiological [disease mechanism] processes involved in these patients is hence an important area for further investigations,” wrote researchers, who suggested more studies to better understand the inflammatory processes present in fibromyalgia.


  1. Ruth Szymansky says:

    Something has to be done .
    If there’s not enough research then do more research ! The government wastes money all the time on studies that result in a waste of time and resources .
    Start providing more help to people like myself to control the inflammation , to reduce the pain , to realeve the stress , depression and anxiety that goes along with fibromyalgia .
    I have ibsd directly from the fibromyalgia .
    I can’t get ssdi bc there is no assistance . I can’t get homehealth care bc I’m not dying .
    I feel like I’m dying , I look like I’m dying .
    I have no quality of life and what is worth living if you have no quality of life .

    • Keli grams says:

      I follow the low inflammation diet and it helps greatly. No processed, no nightshades, no potatoes, no rice and no wheat and junk food. My life has been a lot better.

    • Klaire says:

      Exercise helps me the most, even when it really hurts to do it. Work and push against your limitations every day.

      I especially like low impact cardio like swimming. And my favorite DVD: “The Method Pilates – All in One Workout” which I’ve been doing for 18 years.

      And the non-flam diet, totally helps.

  2. Michelle Clark says:

    My daughter has gotten some relief from low dose naltrexone. Low dose means 1.5 to 4.5 mg vs the 50 mg the give drug addicts.. The downside is you can’t ever take opioids. But she feels a lot better. She still has flares, but it’s not constant anymore. Good luck to you.

    • Hedda says:

      I am also on LDN and have had some relief. It wasn’t major – I can walk up and down stairs without the excruciating pain in my legs/back, and it has increased my mobility some, but not much. I was already allergic to opiods so that wasn’t really a factor for me. They say that LDN is helpful in only something like 30% of Fibro patients so it’s sometimes hard to find someone who will prescribe it – or even knows about it!

  3. Kimberly A James says:

    We fibromyalgia sufferers are being left to suffer while no one, even our doctors, take us seriously. My entire life, including a promising career in music, has been taken from me. Pain management treats us like criminals, no one wants to hire us, no one believes us, including our doctors that find the illness. When will we stop suffering?

    • Shailesh Prajapati says:

      Hi Kimberly.I have been suffering from fibromyalgia since last 2 and half yrs.But I found out sahaja yoga centre nearby my house as suggested by my friend’s mom.Believe me I m cured about 80℅ in just 4 months.My numbness is gone also my pain and digestion problems.My memory and concentration powers r all back again.I have got myself back again.I have seen people curing cancer and many other incurable diseases with the help of sahaja yoga.So u may also try it out.For more info visit the website http://www.sahajayoga.org and find out the nearest sahaja yoga centre by your hometown.It’s centres are widespread in more than 93 countries worldwide.So my best wishes to you!! Thank you.

  4. Denise Bault says:

    Ruth, I agree with you. Seems like there’s also a lot of research showing what we already know. What I can’t understand is why, with so many people afflicted, there isn’t more research being done????

  5. Jackie says:

    I’ve been struggling with FM, Urticaria and pheripheral spondy for the past 7 years. The amount of doctors appointments makes it hard to keep a job that will provide the flexibility I need in my day. I’ve had to turn down turn down my career to practically a HALT. My only saving grace has been exercise, 5-6x per week no matter what. Yoga, light weights, and cardio truly work better for me than anything I’ve tried so far! Keep the fight going! This challenge is mine to face, but I will not let it define me! No way! Trying to get wiser and set good boundaries with myself!!!

  6. Julie Parsons says:

    Why aren’t they(CDC or NIH) asking for more money to do the research for Fibromyalgia? If there are 25 million with FM IT ONLY makes sense to do more studies.YET, there is no cure at this time, just treating the symptoms is not enough. The PEOPLE with FM continue to suffer. How long is this going to last without more studies? I have no quality of life and so do the 25 million either. We all just want treatment that works! As I have read there are some studies but by far more less than any other diseases.

    • Lynna says:

      They dont want to cure, no profit to be made by that. The only research that gets done is for new DRUGS that they can make money from. It is the BUSINESS of medicine.

  7. Diane says:

    I agree whole heartedly. I have researched ways to help myself for 15 years. I believe I have done mor reaerch than most currently over paid doctors. What works for one may not work for me.good lord just got over in the last 10 years that it not a muscle disease. There has been so many neurological diseases added in this past 20 years than ever before. Such as autism, cfs, lupus, Msd, to even shingles. It is time neuro specialists for individual brain function. Neurology is broad that in the advancement of medicine we still only know 30% of brain function. That is not alot compaired to new ailments and diseases growing more everyday. The true tragedy is taking the notion it was all in our minds. Because incompetent doctors could cure then it does’nt exist. Any patient with fibro that wants answers would sign up for being studied for even one person to find relief. It sickens me that we as humans decided to put blinders on because we could’ explain why someone was suffering. This is no time for ego, pride, or narcissism. Every college should be reasearching. In addition working with FDA to get caught up with product growth. Nothing should be sold without approval. What if it is causing many of these diseases now. Gross negligence when our colleges have the money. Quality of life is not a luxury most fibromyagia parients have. So learn how to prevent more from suffering. Be truthful about meds like lyrica. It does nothing for me I believe it does for thase with less then 8 to 10 trigger points.For me I have 16 out of the 18. Stop pharma from controlling cures.

  8. Deborah Goodall says:

    Born with scoliosis 61 yrs ago – which caused the FM — all my life I have suffered — Thank GOD for POT — toking for over 45 yrs gives me relief!! Melatonin, MSM, Tumeric capsules, many vitamins & minerals, and red wine at night – really helped me out. NO prescriptions EVER!! Lots of good water — no beef – no pork – no dairy!! Almond milk and greek yogurt help too!

  9. Susan Craig says:

    25 years of chronic pain, fatigue and depression from fibro has taken aNY quality of life from me. This disease is real and nothing is working for me to have relief from the symptoms of this horrible disease. We need hope to keep enduring and moving forward…but I have no hope that my life will ever improve.

  10. Debra says:

    I’m the same boat he4e.
    If not for my faith and hopein God to get me through all faith and hope would be gone.
    Nothing works in the medical feild and Ive been denied disability for 5 years now. Living barely but I thank God for moving my sister’s heart to help me get on housing and food stamps and indigent other wise I’d be homeless and probably dead by now

  11. Dawn Steward says:

    As someone who has suffered fm I believe it is linked to candida overgrowth, first the bacteria travels up into the spinal cord and brain, the pain with fm follows, it occurs as the bacteria feeds and swells. The two things are linked.

  12. Donna Horner says:

    I thought I had the flu when my PC dignoised me with FM. That was about 1990. I was prescribed an antidepression med. Then Drs did not believe in FM. I now have several things wrong with me. I pray more study is done for FM.

  13. JlynnNC says:

    Why no better research? I learned nearly 20 years ago the money donated and earmarked for Fibro research to the arthritis foundation was being redirected for arthritis research. Why when so many ridiculous grants are approved won’t worthwhile research doesn’t get that money??!!!!

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