WHAT IS THE CONNECTION BETWEEN FIBROMYALGIA AND NEUROPATHY?
I bring all of this up to tell you that there is a growing number of physicians and researchers who believe that FIBROMYALGIA is the result of NEUROPATHY throughout the smaller nerves of the body. In other words, many believe that instead of "CENTRAL SENSITIZATION" with Fibromyalgia, the problem is that Neuropathy is present not only in the larger nerves of the Nervous System, but the smaller nerves as well ("Small Fiber Neuropathy"). There is actually a lot of research that backs this theory up, with the latest study coming out of the most current edition of Arthritis and Rheumatology. It seems that not only were there about 20% fewer superficial nerve fibers present in those who had been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, but they also had high levels of a specific marker of Inflammation (IL-2R --- a marker in some Autoimmune Diseases). HERE is a partial list of inflammatory markers that indicate whether a person has high levels of systemic (whole body) Inflammation present. I would say that the argument is no longer whether or not this Small Fiber Neuropathy is present in people with Fibromyalgia, but whether it is actually causing the problem, or merely a symptom of the problem.
There are any number of reasons that my vote would be that this Small Fiber Neuropathy is a symptom as opposed to being the actual cause of the problem. We know that Small Fiber Neuropathy is a characteristic of many chronic pain syndromes. Chronic Pain has the ability to alter the nervous system (brain atrophy is one of the most well known), and my best guess is that Small Fiber Neuropathy is just one more example of this phenomenon. We also know that a diagnosis of Neuropathy does not account for all the other problems commonly seen with Fibromyalgia (MIGRAINE HEADACHES, AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES such as IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME, INTERSTITIAL CYSTITIS, or others ---- click on the "Autoimmune" link above for a list).