Fibromyalgia is a mysterious illness characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Scientists suspect it amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way the brain processes pain — what the CDC calls abnormal pain processing.
Yet the root cause of fibromyalgia remains unknown.
Scientists may have gotten one step closer to unlocking the mystery, however, with research indicating insulin resistance may be key to the condition.
A Look at the Research
A recent study compared patients with fibromyalgia to two groups of healthy people. Scientists noted that a long-term measure of blood sugar levels was higher in people with fibromyalgia. The body develops insulin resistance develops when it struggles to break down sugar.
The new research compared a small group of people with fibromyalgia into two groups of healthy people and noted that a long-term measure of blood sugar levels was higher in people with fibromyalgia. Insulin resistance develops when the body starts to struggle with breaking down sugar.
People who had blood sugar levels in the pre-diabetic range or higher were given metformin — a diabetes medication. Those who took metformin reported significantly lower pain scores.
“We combined metformin with standard drugs used for fibromyalgia and saw a much greater degree of pain relief,” said Dr. Miguel Pappolla, study author and a professor of neurology at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.
The pain relief proved so significant that researchers actually called patients on different days to recheck their pain scores.
“It’s interesting that there’s a possible connection between fibromyalgia and blood sugar,” Dr. Edward Rubin, an anesthesiologist and pain management specialist at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, told WebMD. “We’ve been attacking the symptoms of fibromyalgia, but we don’t have a good understanding of the root cause of fibromyalgia.”
Improved Outlook for Patients
In addition to scientists having a closer understanding towards the root cause of fibromyalgia, people who suffer from the disease now have an improved outlook at pain management as a result of the study.
“People with fibromyalgia are often told [falsely] that they have a disease that simply cannot be managed,” Dr. Bharat Kumar, from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, told WebMD. “That is not true. Although it’s unclear if metformin will work for every person suffering from fibromyalgia, there is active research into finding solutions for this frustrating and overlooked condition.”
Our Approach to Fibromyalgia
At our clinic in Cincinnati, we help those who suffer from fibromyalgia and other chronic pain find relief through natural and holistic means. These can include massage therapy, dietary changes, exercise, PRP therapy, stem cell injections, and other holistic approaches. Dr. Blatman has long recognized the connection between ingestion of sugar and starch, insulin levels, body wide inflammation, and pain of fibromyalgia. Call our Cincinnati office to find out more!