Within the last decade, much has been written about fibromyalgia and its connection to small fiber neuropathy. A notable study published in the medical journal Pain in 2013 reported that many participants with fibromyalgia tested for small fiber polyneuropathy.
More recently, researchers pointed out that it can be challenging to differentiate fibromyalgia from small fiber neuropathy, let alone find a causal link between the two conditions. It is important to know what small fiber neuropathy is and understand its connection—if any—to fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia and Small Fiber Neuropathy: Are they Connected?
Fascia comprise the silent network of strings and sheets of tissue that hold our bodies together. Fascial tissues surround and go through all the muscles, organs, and bones.
The small fiber nerves discussed in the research are part of the fascia. They send information to the brain and communicate directly with the autonomic and emotional nervous systems. The nerves in these small fibers can sense slight differences in pressure, shear, and strain between the layers of fascia. They are responsible for the sensations of pain, temperature, itching, sensual touch, sexual arousal, bladder distension, hunger, thirst, and even air hunger. These nerves also trigger our emotional awareness.
Fibroblasts are cells that make up much of our fascia. They can produce inflammatory chemicals that cause us to feel pain. This inflammation may cause injury to the tiny nerve endings, which some researchers may identify as small fiber polyneuropathy.
Without carefully reviewing the current research, one might conclude that small fiber neuropathy causes fibromyalgia pain. A more likely explanation is that this neuropathy represents an injury to these nerves that is severe enough to be documented as fibromyalgia in some patients. However, this is not enough to say that the neuropathy causes fibromyalgia.
We have seen much success with treating what is called “small fiber polyneuropathy” as myofascial pain.
Fibromyalgia Pain and Inflammatory Foods
Injury can trigger the cells of our fascia and nervous system fascia to cause inflammation and subsequent pain. Inflammatory foods can also activate this chain reaction and cause pain, especially in people with fibromyalgia.
When our fibromyalgia patients stop eating inflammatory foods, much of their pain and abnormal inflammation go away. Our bodies have a tremendous ability to heal if we use the right fuel. If you have fibromyalgia and struggle with nutrition, a local nutritional expert may help. Blatman Health and Wellness Center can teach you to adopt a healthier diet and allow your body to heal more naturally.