Learn More About Fibromyalgia Research Studies
What are Fibromyalgia Research Studies?
Fibromyalgia is a prevalent chronic condition that causes symptoms such as musculoskeletal pain across the muscles and tenders. Many doctors struggle to effectively diagnose the condition because its symptoms overlap with those of arthritis. Even powerful diagnostic tools like magnetic resonance imaging may not be enough to help diagnose and treat the condition.
Some doctors may misdiagnose fibromyalgia and treat it using the wrong opioids. The exact cause of fibromyalgia is not currently known, requiring further fibromyalgia clinical trials to understand the condition entirely. Researchers believe some patients are more likely to develop fibromyalgia due to inherited genes. There is no cure for fibromyalgia, and most treatment plans focus on managing the symptoms.
Why is Fibromyalgia Being Studied Through Research Studies?
A big hurdle in treating fibromyalgia is the difficulty of diagnosis. Fibromyalgia overlaps with other diseases, and no tests can provide a conclusive diagnosis. This is why most cases of fibromyalgia often go misdiagnosed. Conditions such as arthritis and hypothyroidism must be ruled out before diagnosing fibromyalgia.
The current body of research is focused on developing novel methods for accurately and reliably diagnosing fibromyalgia so that healthcare professionals can prescribe appropriate treatment plans.
Although fibromyalgia shares similar symptoms with arthritis, it does not cause muscle inflammation or damage. It is mostly viewed as a rheumatic condition that leads to soft tissue pain. Brain imaging scans have revealed that fibromyalgia is caused due to a disorder in the central nervous system.
Patients who develop fibromyalgia have a different way of processing pain signals that heightens their pain sensitivity. Research also indicates that fibromyalgia can lead to sensory overload, such as responses to noise and light. This often makes the patient feel confused, stressed out, and panicked.
Medications prescribed for fibromyalgia often prove to be ineffective. Some patients are prescribed antidepressants and anti-seizure drugs to manage pain. However, one study found that many patients often stop taking these drugs because they are ineffective at relieving their symptoms and managing pain. Fibromyalgia research studies can pave the way for more effective medications with fewer adverse side effects in patients.
Researchers are also investigating using certain placebos to treat patients with fibromyalgia. NCCIH-sponsored studies are evaluating traditional Chinese medicine to see if it yields better results with fibromyalgia. Other areas of interest include the correlation of mineral and vitamin deficiencies with fibromyalgia symptoms.
What Are The Types of Treatments Available For Fibromyalgia?
There is no cure for fibromyalgia. Instead, most treatment plans are focused on alleviating symptoms in patients. Doctors often prescribe antidepressants and antiseizure drugs to help patients manage pain. This is because anti-seizure drugs are believed to regulate brain neurotransmitter problems. With that said, fibromyalgia is not a psychological condition.
Some patients may be prescribed opioids to manage pain. However, the opioid system of the body is believed to play a role in the development of the disease, so prescribing opioids seems counterintuitive. Instead, using medications that block the body's opioids could reduce pain in patients, as one 2013 Stanford research suggests.
A popular approach for managing the symptoms of fibromyalgia is the use of natural remedies. This may be effective at managing fibromyalgia since it can reduce stress and pain and help the patient feel better regarding their mental and physical health. Behavior modification therapy (BMT) may also be prescribed to patients since it helps them manage pain-increasing behaviors to improve positive behaviors. BMT helps patients learn relaxation exercises and skills.
What Are Some of the Breakthrough Clinical Trials Involving Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia research studies aim to provide doctors with new insights into the accurate diagnosis of the condition and therapies to manage symptoms. Below are some critical breakthroughs in fibromyalgia that improve diagnosis and treatment.
2017: Muscle Stretching Exercises in Fibromyalgia - This randomized clinical trial investigates the use of exercise therapy to manage the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Researchers look at the effects and specificities of the various types of exercise, primarily resistance training and muscle stretching, to see if it improves the condition. Quality of life was a primary marker in measuring the effectiveness of resistance training.
Patients were randomly assigned into control, resistance, and stretching groups. Pain levels were measured using a visual analog scale. After treatment, the stretching group had the highest and lowest bodily pain scores. The resistance training group had the lowest scores. The research found that muscle stretching was the most effective method of improving the quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia.
2017: Comparing Acupuncture with Sham Acupuncture for Treating FM - This clinical trial compared the efficacy of real acupuncture with sham acupuncture in treating fibromyalgia. 50 participants were randomized into two groups to receive either true or sham acupuncture. Results were evaluated using Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS), Back Depression Scale (BDI), and Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) over the course of several weeks.
Both groups improved their parameters one month after the 1st session, and the improvement persisted two months after the 1st session. However, the group that underwent real acupuncture showed superior scores in BDI, FiQ, and VAS. This shows that acupuncture can significantly improve the symptoms of FM.
2018: Dry Needling versus Myofascial Release in Patients with FM - This randomized controlled trial compared the effectiveness of dry needling with myofascial release to improve quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia. Besides the quality of life, investigators also monitored the intensity of pain, anxiety, and depression symptoms, as well as the quality of sleep.
It was found that dry needling therapy provides superior results to myofascial release therapy for various factors, including social function, vitality, body pain, quality of life, and pain pressure thresholds. Dry needling can be used in conjunction with complementary therapies to manage FM.
2018: Probiotics in Fibromyalgia - This randomized trial investigated the cognitive and emotional effects of probiotics in patients with fibromyalgia. Microbes in the gut have been shown to regulate brain processes, which can improve motivation and various cognitive functions. This suggests that probiotics may help in treating fibromyalgia.
Researchers looked at the pain, the impact of life, anxiety, and depression symptoms before and after the intervention phases. The urinary cortisol concentration was also determined. The results indicate that probiotics improved impulsivity and decision-making in patients with FM. However, more research in probiotics is needed to explore their effects on cognitive functions.
2019: Ozone Therapy in 65 Patients with FM - This clinical trial investigated ozone therapy in treating fibromyalgia. 65 patients were treated at the MEDE Clinic in Italy. 55 patients were treated using autohemotransfution, and ten patients were treated using ozone rectal insufflation according to SIOOT protocols. Investigators found that 45 patients reported significantly improved due to the therapy.
No side effects were found in patients, making ozone therapy a viable treatment plan for patients responding poorly to other available treatments.
2021: Multicomponent Treatment in Patients with Fibromyalgia - The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of multicomponent treatment based on a combination of pain neuroscience education, cognitive behavioral therapy, therapeutic exercise, and mindfulness in treatment patients with FM. The study had 272 participants who were randomized to either multicomponent treatment or available treatments that are usually prescribed to them.
The multi-component treatment was delivered in groups of 20 participants. The other group was prescribed pharmacological medications according to their symptoms. The study results indicate significant group differences in favor of the multicomponent treatment in the areas of pain, physical function, kinesiophobia, and moderate differences in fatigue, anxiety, and depressive symptoms. This provides evidence for the use of multicomponent treatment for FM.
Who Are The Key Opinion Leaders On Fibromyalgia Clinical Trial Research?
The chronic Pain & Fatigue Research Center at the University of Michigan is a leading center committed to furthering research into fibromyalgia, including its causes, diagnosis, and treatment. The research center has played an important role in establishing that the various pain symptoms in fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis have common clinical factors. Their primary area of interest is studying the link between these conditions and the central nervous system.
The Pain Research Institute at the University of Liverpool is an authority on pain research and has conducted several studies into the causes and treatments of chronic conditions, including fibromyalgia. They have dedicated laboratories for psychophysical investigations across the Liverpool region. The institute frequently collaborated with specialists and neurologists in fibromyalgia to help them develop more effective therapeutics.
Ohio State Medical Center is advancing innovation and research in health and sciences. More recently, the medical center developed a reliable way of detecting fibromyalgia in blood samples to minimize misdiagnosis of the condition. Over the years, Ohio State Medical Center has emerged as America's top-ranked academic health center, aiming to improve lives through patient careers and research.
Rodriguez-Saona is a professor and researcher at Ohio State University. His primary focus is developing safer and higher-quality agricultural products through innovative analytical technologies. He specializes in the application of Fourier Transform infrared spectroscopy for food safety and quality assurance. Rodrigez has also helped develop a test for fibromyalgia based on blood samples to improve diagnosis.
Center for Musculoskeletal Pain Research at the University of Florida specializes in chronic musculoskeletal pain and improving patient quality of life. Their research focuses on developing novel treatment plans and diagnostic tools to catch the conditions at an early stage and treat them more effectively. The research institute always accepts volunteers to participate in clinical trials to provide more insights into fibromyalgia.
East Campus Biotech Company at the University of Albany is a biotechnology company housed and supported at the University of Albany’s East Campus. The company published a study that detailed the first physically detectable pathology that provided a logical rationale for fibromyalgia. It was conducted with neurologist and pain specialist Dr. Charles E. Argoff. This study was a major breakthrough and played a crucial role in helping doctors learn more about fibromyalgia and understand that it is, indeed, a real condition and not attributable to the patient’s imagination.