Chronic pain and fibromyalgia: the important step for a more adequate treatment of these pathologies
A pain that lasts regardless of the causes that triggered it. This is how chronic pain can be defined, that which really does not let live and which persists over time, without there being a factor that determines it. Those who suffer from it know well that it is an unwelcome travel companion, even and above all if it is linked to conditions that perhaps do not create alterations to laboratory tests or radiological images, as in the case of fibromyalgia. However, research is developing ever more precise weapons to identify these forms.
A group of Italian researchers has identified the first biomarker in the world (MLM, Mu-Lympho-Marker) that allows to identify the existence and the first intensity scale of chronic pain, paving the way for the definition of new therapeutic strategies. How does it work? This is explained by the researcher of the scientific study published, among the speakers at the National Congress of FederDolore SICD (Italian Society of Clinicians of Pain) underway in Bologna.
Beyond the subjective data
“I have a lot of pain”, or “it doesn’t hurt me particularly”. Faced with the same stimulus, the subjective response is obviously different. And to date, when you go to the doctor, the indicator available to know the pain level of a patient is the verbal one. In the case of the patient, the result of this evaluation is very subjective because it takes into account their own experience and personal level of pain tolerance. The clinician will therefore have to rely on the patient’s perception to decide whether it is mild, moderate or severe pain “There was no diagnostic test for chronic pain and all pain clinicians know the impact it can have on a diagnostic but also psychological level about the patient through whom we can only have subjective information about chronic pain.
The study was carried out – explains Valentina Malafoglia, Researcher of the ISAL Foundation (Institute of Algological Sciences) – comparing a group of healthy patients with a group suffering from fibromyalgia pain precisely because we know that the extent of pain in these patients is very variable and spread throughout the body. We needed to be able to encode and quantify it over time “.
Fibromyalgia as a model
Fibromyalgia is a severe syndrome that causes severe chronic pain. In Europe, it affects over 14 million people, 90% of which are women. It is not considered a rare disease and is not recognized as a chronic disease within the Essential Levels of Care (Lea). It manifests itself with widespread pain, easy fatigue, development of a sense of distress, panic and anxiety, sleep disturbances and gastrointestinal problems. Even today there are no tests that are able to diagnose it clearly, nor resolutive therapies. For many, the mockery of looking sick in the eyes of relatives, colleagues and friends, which also results in severe psychological stress. “The confirmation of the Mu-Lympho-Marker as a biomarker for severe chronic pain, may have numerous positive impacts starting from the confirmation of the presence of pain, the degree of intensity, which will reduce delays and diagnostic errors for the benefit of quality improvement. of life of patients and caregivers. – explains Malafoglia.
Among the objectives is that of defining new therapeutic strategies and the development of new drugs, identifying in a precise and personalized way the most appropriate treatment with obvious savings in time and costs “. In short, this is an important step forward. “It is a surprising result that will allow us – concludes Giuliano DE CAROLIS, President of Federdolore_SICD – to have an important tool for better management of patients with fibromalgia and to be able to extend it to all other diseases with chronic pain”