Brain Changes May Explain Chronic Pain Symptoms in Different Disorders, Study Suggests

Brain Changes May Explain Chronic Pain Symptoms in Different Disorders, Study Suggests
Even though fibromyalgia and urological chronic pelvic pain syndrome (UCPPS) are different disorders, new research suggests that patients suffering from these conditions may actually share alterations to the brain, perhaps explaining why certain UCPPS patients exhibit fibromyalgia characteristics, such as widespread pain. The study “Brain signature and functional impact of centralized pain: a multidisciplinary approach to the study of chronic pelvic pain (MAPP) network study” was published in the journal Pain. Chronic pain is diagnosed and assessed via severity score scales, determining the intensity of the pain. However, current clinical practice disregards the pain's spatial distribution in the body. Now, a team of researchers at the University of Michigan asked how widespread pain is and what may underlie its wide distribution. They examined data from the brains of 1,709 participants in the Multidisciplinary Approach to the Study of Chronic Pelvic Pain Research Network. “Participants with a clinical diagnosis of UCPPS were compared to pain-free controls and patients with fibromyalgia, the prototypical centralized pain disorder,” researchers wrote. They also analyzed questionnaires where patients reported their levels of pain severity and function. Moreover, patients were asked to pinpoint, on a body map, the locations where they felt pain. A subset of the study participants, which included 10 UCPPS, 23 fibromyalgia and 49 healthy controls subjects, underwent functional
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