Does Nerve Damage Play a Role in Fibromyalgia?

nerve damage

In a recent study of patients suffering from fibromyalgia, nearly half of the patients were recorded as having moderate to severe nerve damage in their skin cells.

The nerve damage done to the nerve fibers has been deemed small-fiber polyneuropathy, or SFPN. Small-fiber polyneuropathy is caused by a few specific medical conditions.

Currently, there is no known cause of fibromyalgia, so this nerve damage discovery could make some advances in the direction of finding what exactly causes the disorder.

Fibromyalgia disorders differentiate patient to patient but the typical symptoms include widespread chronic pain, extreme fatigue, and hypersensitivity to pain and pressure. The disorder disproportionally affects women in comparison to men.

Looking at nerve damage

There have been some advances made concerning how to properly diagnose the disorder, but its pathology still remains a mystery. Fibromyalgia has some of the same symptoms as small-fiber polyneurotherapy in that small-fiber polyneurotherapy has caused widespread chronic pain in the individuals that have been diagnosed with it.

The study was conducted on 27 adults with the fibromyalgia disorder and a group of 30 healthy individuals that had volunteered for the study. The same tests that are used in the diagnoses of small-fiber polyneurotherapy were used to test the participants of the study. The tests included a physical examination and administration of a questionnaire.

Additionally, the researches administered skin biopsies the help with the evaluation of nerve fibers in the patients’ legs and the monitoring of blood pressure, sweating, and the patients’ heart rates.

Neuropathy was found in very high counts in the fibromyalgia patients, while the group of healthy individuals seemed normal. Thirteen of the 27 fibromyalgia patients were recorded as individuals with reduced levels of nerve fibers density in their skin.

Those some thirteen individuals also had odd autonomic function test results. Because of these results, it was presumed that these thirteen individuals had small-fiber polyneurotherapy.

While the conclusions drawn from this test does not suggest a cause in the development of all fibromyalgia conditions, it does give researchers some evidence as to what causes fibromyalgia in at least some patients.

The fibromyalgia disorder is very intricate, unique, and complex disorder. Its symptoms and severity are different in each patient that it affects. Because of this unique differentiation, there is no one explanation for the development of fibromyalgia.

This process could take months or years before answers are found as to what are the primary causes of fibromyalgia. Before work on a cure of fibromyalgia can be done, researchers must first find what exactly causes the disorder to develop in patients.

This study is currently the one of its kind. The results have recently been published so other laboratories should soon begin creating their own tests and experiments according to the blueprint this study has constructed.

Some may have already started with a few adaptations. The search for a better diagnosis of fibromyalgia is an ongoing one.

And finding better treatments for those individuals that have been inflicted by the fibromyalgia disorder is one of the top priorities when its comes to this unique disorder.



  • Steve Goldie

    Interesting reading !
    I live in Qld Australia and I suffer severe pain both Chonic and at Times acute enough to immobilize me completely …
    I do get a little relief from Lyrica in the over 450 mg a day range but only enough to let me walk around house doing small jobs (I no longer am able to work) on a full disability pension

    Codine products like Panadine Forte , Endone , Oxy,etc seem to be as good as nothing actually ?

    I have tried Fentanyl but even it’s crap and found it very bad coming off also
    I’m on a patch now called Norsapan it again is not stopping the pain !
    This condition (As yet Undiagnosed ) has my GP puzzled as what to do or how to treat me ? He has recently over last year tried a few antidepressant drugs to work in conjunction (to many to list) so searching for an answer he has done many many blood tests all have been negative so frustrated I booked in to see Gp and asked for a refural to
    see Dr Peter Nash on Sunshine Coast (he’s a Rhuemitoligist)
    More bloods then ever were tested and x1 possible condition was thought due to discoloration in fingers bloods ruled out Raynalds
    And Rhuemoitoid arthritis is now suspected on top of pain and fatigue condition I already have after breaking neck and back in separate accidents !!!
    Bloods are negative but Dr Nash suspected a false positive (Zero Negative) ?
    He’s got me taking Endep 50 mg before bed so I can get sleep ……it helps reach R.e.m sleep or stage 4 restorative sleep !
    I’m a month in and still as bad as ever pain and fatigue wise I just sleep more ?

    If any trials for any new drugs come up I’m happy to be a test patient .?

    Even getting partial paralysis now and fatigue bouts come on so fast if I’m shopping I must leave trolley to get to car as a just pass out so when I feel it start I have x5 mins and I’m buggered after that ?

    Any clues ?

    • carmen

      I think all the drugs you are taking are the cause, they are killers!

      • Pennie

        Carmen, she had this before the drugs. You don’t know what your talking about.

        • Nancy

          Penny I agree w/ U!

  • jacky

    Yes yes. My diagnosis and treatment had followed a similar peytern over the 18+ years of suffering. I got diagnosed via scans (not xrays – theyre not detailed enough) which shows severe joint damage. Various drug regimes were effevtive for a while then simply stopped working. Eventually…having been on 17+ tabs a day…my consultant offered enteracerpt (enbrel) an anti TNF – one of the new ‘biologicals’. Its been nigh on a miracle. I was looking towards whhelchairs just a few years ago. Now o work, keep house, drive etc etc. I still need to pace myself for big events..or lots of exertion, and tho i take painkillers and anti depressants, the doses some days are prfunctionary rather than feeling i really need them. Theres been no side effects for me to speak of…tho some do get reactions. I think its still being sorted by NICE the meds approval board…but ive got it so clearly available as i just get the hosp to approve them – theres no ‘drugs trial’ invilved. Its reaaly expensive too so need via healthcare service or loads of cash! Do get onto it. Only other down is that if biologicals dont work theres only 1 other type ive geard of 8to try…then nowhere else to go. Also just noticed youve just got anti deps & pain killers so far…weird theres loads to try yet…arthrotec is really common. Im wondering if you should change your gp or demand to see a consultant! Good luck tho. And be brave..but not silent! Sorry its such an essay! ♡♡ X

  • Elle


    I suspect your Rheumy meant “seronegative” not zero negative. Just means that you have not tested positive for Rheumatoid Factor.

  • Karen

    I had a botched lumbar puncture 6 years ago and have suffered ever since! (Nothing major previously!)I’ve recently been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia after many Drs saying I had a rare form of migraine! I believe the lumbar puncture was the onset of Fibromyalgia!

  • Michelle

    I’m currently in a lot of pain, live had fibromyalgia for over 10 yrs, I think I may have had it as a child. I had (growing pains) I also had hepatitis A. I. Was in the hospital and was pretty sick, and malnourished. I’ve for the last couple have been cutting back on prescribed drugs.
    I was a year ago on morphine, I didn’t like the idea of becoming depended. My pain Dr. Talked me into it to treat severe arthritis in my neck.then He died. The new nurse who treated me. Let’s just say she accused me of something I did not do. So I had been thinking of getting of it. So I did soon after. I have more pain. But I deal with it. I don’t want any more fatigue, as mine is I weaned myself off of some of the drugs. I’m hurting but I’m relativity okay. I will hurt but I’ll be as drug free as I can. Really all the drugs have some side effect. I guess I’ll keep taking my thyroid meds and the stuff for my bad acid reflux .but I think until they learn what fibro is they can’t really treat it. I’m praying for a cure.

  • Melody Murphy

    Recently moved to Phoenix, AZ. Have had FMS and CFS for over 25 years. I need a Dr here in Phoenix. ANY SUGGESTIONS WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED!!

  • Lane

    I’ve had Fibro for six years. Let me start by saying everyone is different, what may work for one person may not work for another. And I don’t think that we should be judgmental about people who use Western medicine, i.e. pharmaceuticals; or natural methods, sometimes referred to as eastern treatment. Sometimes there are people that use both. I don’t like to take drugs but I have found some relief in them. I have also found some relief from acupuncture as well as acupuncture with electrodes. Chiropractic appointments are part of my weekly ritual. During a time when I stopped using my chiropractor, about three years, the pain was definitely much more severe.

    At this point I use 60 mg of Cymbalta, which helpes with pain and depression. I get free samples from my doctor sometimes, but it just went generic. If you find your insurance company won’t cover you can make a special request. That’s what I did and they put it on my approved list

    For the extreme fatigue that I get, because I also have chronic fatigue, I take a combination of extended-release Adderall 30 mg four times a week the other three days I take 150 mg tablets of nuvigil. Something about the mixture of the two drugs, seems to help me better then one over the other. Once again you may need to request special approval from your insurance company.

    For anxiety I take clonazepam 2 mg tablets twice a day once in the morning and once at night. I have extreme anxiety. Without these pills I would be a nervous wreck all day long.

    For the prevention of migraines, and for tremors that I get, I take two 20 mg tablets of propranolol one tablet in the morning and one in the evening.

    For extreme pain I take hydrocodon-acetaminophen 5-325 as needed. This is when the pain gets to be a nine on a scale from 1 to 10. I probably go through 60 tablets in a year on a normal basis. So as you see, I try to stay away from heavy pain medication. However about three times a year if the pain is a 10, I have gone to walk-in clinics or the emergency room for a pain shot.

    I’ll just handle the pain when it’s a five or six because that’s about what it normally is, and I just get used to it. But if it starts to get higher I hit my meditation really heavy. I try to meditate on a daily basis and I’m quite good at it. It took me a long time to find a style that worked for me, but after taking tai chi for two years, that specific type of meditation seemed to work for me. At any point in time I can get into a deep level of meditation in about 1 to 2 minutes. This has been a huge help in avoiding taking heavy pain medication.

    I don’t have the nerve ending pain, I have the sore throbbing muscle pain. If I’m not getting enough sleep, I may take gabapentin 600 mg one half to one tablet at night. After a few nights of deep sleep I find I don’t need the medication for quite some time. The other thing that seems to work for getting a good nights sleep is the over-the-counter Benadryl antihistamine tablets one of those will make me sleep. I tried sleeping pills for a while, but I don’t want to add those to the list of drugs I already take.

    I’ve had the full course of blood tests I’m sure you all have had and for supplements I take 6000 IU of vitamin D three. My blood test showed I had very little, almost no vitamin D in my system. I think if you do your own research on vitamin D you will
    See that the recent findings show that vitamin D is very important for a number of reasons including reduction of pain.

    I take a general vitamin per day, I also take one tablet 2500 MCG of B 12 sub lingual. I also take extra magnesium and omega-3.

    I’m on permanent disability and cannot work. I have cognitive issues that are very hard to deal with. This contributes to my extreme depression and anxiety, considering I have an MBA and previously my career was at the SVP level in finance. At this point, I can’t even do basic math without using a calculator. Sometimes I go to the store and if I use cash it looks like money from a different country.

    I’ve been to four of the top fibromyalgia doctors in Los Angeles County. None of them could help me. Right now I have a psychiatrist, a chiropractor, and an OB/GYN , who happens to be an angel and has taken an interest in fibromyalgia. She currently works with five patients with fibromyalgia and she knows more than the “experts” out there.

    I wrote this information in the event some or all of it maybe helpful to those suffering from this debilitating disease. I know some people have fibromyalgia that isn’t that bad. They still go to work and manage to run a household and or take care of themselves. My symptoms won’t allow me to do that. However, I won’t give up looking for a contribution that I can make to others that helps me validate myself. Good luck to you all

    • bridget murphy

      just found this site .i have found it interesting in that it is know different to the country ireland where i come from these specialist are the same the try to fob us off with all the type of drugs much the same as ur gp prescribe my gp reaction was its not life treating it wont kill me my answer to that was may not kill me but its a life sentence so it dose not matter what country we come from we are all in the same boat .who knows some where out their is a a very clever scientist good luck

      • Elizabeth Kane

        Amen to that I have had FM since 1996 when they didn’t know what it was. The understanding has become better and the treatment options offered are more diverse but hopefully someone can have a break through.

    • Pam

      Lane, thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience with us, it was very helpful to me. I have had FM for nearly 10 years, and have gone through many options and efforts, only to find that it is getting worse, maybe because of my age, I will be 67 this year, but who knows any answers where FM is concerned. The pain and chronic fatigue the majority of the days are horrid, but I have to deal with it as best I can with heavy pain killers and sleeping pills, even though I am exhausted, I can’t sleep! I work every day, and will have to until I die on the job as I cannot afford not to work. I hope that the effort of these blogs will help in some way, some people, who can take information they were not aware of and apply to themselves in the hope it will help.

  • Penny

    Hi just want to say I’m so happy I found this website, as I to have FM, and I hurt so bad most everyday ! I don’t like taken a bunch of drugs, as like other’s have said they all have side effects. and that’s not my cup of tea. I’ve had this mess now for about 25 years . for just because( FM) I have Raynauds, and Nonalcoholic Fatty liver disease , and the most painful of all is Interstitial Cystitis .I would not wish this on anyone as it has taken so much from me . My get up and go has left and not come back !! which really sucks as I’m a person that always likes to be busy.
    now my feet are going numb on me now, which creeps me out!! and my legs burn so bad most of time they feel like they are on fire. And my eyes are getting hit now too, as I wear glass’s but it’s like I can’t see with them and I can’t see without them. so that sucks .
    My doctor had me get a brain scan done as he wanted to make sure I didn’t have (MS) which thank the Lord it was clear. but I scare myself to death when I read about MS, and it sounds like so much of the stuff I suffer from. I sleep like crap !!! the doctor put me on Xanax 1MG at bed time . but that stuff after time starts to make you have dry eyes which I have and so I’m cutting that back so I can get of that. I look at this way I’ll close my eyes when I get tired enough. I guess we just need to stand in one accord for each other and hope they can find some answers for all of us that have it every moment of our lives. God Bless

  • heatheryeoman

    i dont know if this will help but i was diagnosed with fyber 10 years after i was diagnosed with a caverness angioma right upper pons brainstem i have found neurotin 300 mgrams kill pain also make me high and knock me out i use holland and barett ultra women multi vits help with energy levels i live in england help is non existant and you have to work no matter how sick its drowning not waving so i just try my best and when all ese fails i use proplus i can ytake 6 before they work so dont use unless you are desparete heather

  • From the Park Bench

    I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2010. I had bilateral hip replacements, R in 2004, and L in 2005. The 2005 procedure left me with foot drop and permanent damage to the sciatic nerve as a result of the nerve being overstretched during the procedure. I have had pain ever since that day, even had to come from the hospital in leg cast. i have since been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, RSD in that leg, and the list goes on. I was told by the neurologist who completed by neurological background, I have complete loss of function of the major motor nerve in my Left Leg. He feels it has always been this way, as a result of the surgery. Other than some really great physical therapists, I have not had any changes other than increased pain, increased inflammation, and increased loss, since the date of the surgery. I honestly feel the nerve damage has worsened over the years and once the nerve damage occurred, it caused my development of Fibromyalgia over the subsequent years.

  • Kelly Ann McDonnell Justus

    I have had Fibromyalgia since 2002. How do I stop the nerve damage?