Altered Reflexes in Spinal Cord May Contribute to Fibromyalgia Pain, Study Finds

Altered Reflexes in Spinal Cord May Contribute to Fibromyalgia Pain, Study Finds
Changes in the pain-sensing circuits of the spinal cord may contribute to a greater sensitivity to pain in patients with fibromyalgia, a study has found. Spinal cord reflexes were more sensitive to pain in fibromyalgia patients than in those who didn't have fibromyalgia, even though this response was not correlated with pain duration or tender points. The study, "Can aberrant spinal nociception be a marker of chronicity of pain in fibromyalgia syndrome?" was published in the Journal of Clinical Neuroscience. Chronic pain associated with fibromyalgia is rooted in a process of central sensitization, known to originate from the hyperexcitability of certain nerve cells in the spinal cord, specifically the dorsal horn neurons. These neurons process sensory information that is then transmitted to several brain regions, including those responsible for pain perception. In this study, a team of researchers at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in India were interested in studying the role of a different spinal cord pathway in pain processing related to fibromyalgia — the nociceptive flexion reflex (NFR), or withdrawal reflex. This is an automatic response where a painful stimuli activates an effector response to protect the body from potential damage. An NFR c
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