A recent study by researchers at the University of Michigan and Ohio State University suggests that fibromyalgia could worsen an opioid use disorder (OUD).
It is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain, extreme tiredness, and cognitive difficulties,
The study surveyed 125 people living with pain and OUD, 31% of whom met the criteria for fibromyalgia.
The researchers found that those with fibromyalgia were much more likely to say that pain had worsened their addiction to opioids.
They were more likely to agree that pain caused them to continue and increase their opioid use and that they put off seeking help out of fear their pain would be unbearable if they stopped using opioids.
Fibromyalgia was also associated with greater odds of fearing that pain might cause relapse in the future.
The overlap between the brain pathways and chemicals believed to be involved in fibromyalgia and opioid addiction led the researchers to suspect that fibromyalgia might worsen opioid use disorder, and their findings suggest that their hypothesis was correct.
The study’s authors believe that these findings could lead to more targeted treatments for people with pain and OUD.
The team says there are ways we can help people living with fibromyalgia.
It’s possible that combining lessons learned from years of studying fibromyalgia might one day inform new treatments for chronic pain and opioid use disorder.
The study’s findings are important because worries about pain may cause people with fibromyalgia and OUD to delay getting addiction treatment.
In the current overdose crisis, every day a person puts off OUD treatment might be the last day of their life.
The study highlights the need for more research into the complex relationship between chronic pain and opioid use disorder, as well as the need for more effective treatments for both conditions.
How to manage fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes widespread pain, fatigue, and other symptoms.
While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, there are ways to manage the symptoms and improve quality of life. Here are some strategies that may help:
Exercise regularly: Exercise can help reduce pain and fatigue, improve mood, and increase energy levels. Low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, and yoga are often recommended for people with fibromyalgia.
Get enough sleep: Getting enough sleep is important for managing fibromyalgia symptoms. Establishing a regular sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, and creating a relaxing bedtime routine can all help improve sleep quality.
Manage stress: Stress can exacerbate fibromyalgia symptoms, so it’s important to find ways to manage stress. Meditation, deep breathing, and other relaxation techniques can be helpful.
Eat a healthy diet: A balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can help reduce inflammation and improve overall health.
Take medication as prescribed: Medications such as pain relievers, antidepressants, and anti-seizure drugs may be prescribed to manage fibromyalgia symptoms. It’s important to take these medications as prescribed by a doctor.
Try complementary therapies: Acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic care are all complementary therapies that some people with fibromyalgia find helpful. It’s important to talk to a doctor before trying any new therapies.
Pace yourself: People with fibromyalgia may find that their symptoms worsen if they overexert themselves. Pacing oneself and taking breaks as needed can help manage symptoms.
Stay connected: Fibromyalgia can be a isolating condition, so it’s important to stay connected with family, friends, and support groups.
Sharing experiences and learning from others can help manage the emotional and psychological aspects of the condition.
If you care about pain, please read studies about why cholesterol-lowering drug statins can cause muscle pain, and new device to treat pain without using drugs.
For more information about wellness, please see recent studies that common painkiller ibuprofen may strongly influence your liver, and how to live pain-free with arthritis.
The study was conducted by Dr. Daniel J. Clauw et al and published in the journal PAIN.
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