Fibromyalgia is a chronic debilitating condition that includes symptoms of chronic diffuse pain, sleep disturbance, migraine headaches, fatigue, joint pain and irritable bowel-type symptoms. Patients may have all or just some of these symptoms. Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS) is considered a subtype of fibromyalgia. It appears that all patients with these conditions suffer a heightened perception of pain thought to be due to abnormal processing of pain signals in the central nervous system. The mainstay of treatment is medication, primarily pain relievers such as NSAIDs and opiates, pregabalin (antiepileptic), duloextine (antidepressant), muscle relaxants and sleep aids.
An endocannabinoid deficiency or dysregulation has been hypothesized to be a possible cause of fibromyalgia symptoms. Studies have not completely elucidated this theory, but there is some evidence of abnormal endocannabinoid levels in patients with fibromyalgia. Recent studies show that fibromyalgia patients have increased levels of glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter that can cause inflammation and damage when it accumulates. Fibromyalgia patients have been found to have higher blood levels of pro-inflammatory compounds, which indicates abnormal inflammation may play a role.
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