Fibromyalgia is a mysterious illness. People who suffer from it experience widespread musculoskeletal pain as well as fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. It is believed that the disease affects the way the brain processes pain, effectively amplifying painful sensations. The CDC calls this phenomenon 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 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 with pre-diabetic blood sugar levels were prescribed metformin — a diabetes medication. Those patients experienced less pain.
“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 was enough to surprise researchers. They actually called patients back to recheck their pain scores to confirm that the numbers were right.
“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!