Pain is processed differently for people with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, compared to people who do not have fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome.

I’ve been reading about this on various websites, but the best description so far I found today at The Fibromyalgia Information Foundation.   The article is here, Understanding Pain and Pain Amplification.

What you’ll find:

  • pictures and a basic description of how pain starts somewhere in the body
  • then that pain signal gets transmitted to the spinal column,
  • then to a location in the brain,
  • and then back to the place where the pain started.

At these junction points in the brain, people with fibromyalgia experience two things.

  • One event is that the pain input gets chemically magnified along the way to the brain.  That alone would magnify the sensation of pain.
  • The other thing that happens though is the brain does a poor job of damping out the pain signal.  In a normal brain,  the pain gets dampened and reduced.  In a person with fibromyalgia, that pain stays elevated.

In doctor lingo, they call that central sensitization, medical confirmation that people with fibromyalgia experience pain more severely.

The Fibromyalgia Information Foundation website is maintained by Dr. Robert Bennett.  Dr, Bennett is Professor of Medicine and Nursing at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) in Portland, Oregon and a past president of the International Myopain Society.  A recommended resource.