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Emotions do not modulate pain as they should do in fibromyalgia

It has been well established that patients with fibromyalgia have an increased sensitivity of the central nervous system (including the brain). This implies that the brake of the pain system (pain inhibition) is malfunctioning, and that the accelerator (pain facilitation) is overactive. What we do not know exactly is why and how these brain-orchestrated mechanisms are malfunctioning. We know from previous research that long-term stress plays a key role, but the exact mechanisms remain to be revealed. Two new studies (one from American researchers and a second one from Germany) show that emotions do not modulate pain as they should do in patients with fibromyalgia. In healthy people, positive emotions inhibit pain, while negative emotions enhance pain. These studies showed that such relationships are not working properly in patients with fibromyalgia. This calls for interventions that improve the capacity of the brain to react (more appropriately) to emotions in patients with fibromyalgia, in a way that positive emotions will decrease pain as they should do.