Monday, 19 February 2018

Small Fiber Neuropathy And Fibromyalgia Symptoms Lead To Confusion

Today's short post from (see link below) looks into the confusion among many neuropathy patients as to what form of neuropathy they actually have. Add the mysterious fibromyalgia to the mix and you have nerve damage patients unsure exactly what they're suffering from. As the article rightly says; at the moment most of the treatments for the symptoms of these different forms of neuropathy, are pretty much the same. So you could say: what does it matter what the name of your neuropathy is - the future is pretty much the same for everyone. The problem is that a lack of a proper diagnosis can be deeply frustrating for the patient, so there's a lot of importance attached to the right diagnosis. This article looks at what the recognised features of small fiber neuropathy are and whether small fiber neuropathy is actually the cause of fibromyalgia. It's complex and doctors remain frustratingly divided about both diseases and this short article shows the effect this confusion has on the author herself.

What is Small Fiber Neuropathy. Why This is Necessary For Fibromyalgia
By admin On February 12, 2018

Welcome! It looks like you might be new here, so I wanted to take a moment to tell you a little about me and my blog. My name is Julie Ryan and I live with Fibromyalgia. I’ve chosen to live positively, to fight back with diet and lifestyle changes and it’s made a huge difference for me. The difference between living all my days in bed, and actually LIVING. I hope you’ll keep reading – check out the sidebar for a list of my readers favorite posts, and ..

In the last few years we’ve seen many articles about the overlap of small fiber neuropathy (or small fiber polyneuropathy – same thing) in Fibromyalgia and the hope that we may be able to use skin biopsies of these small fiber nerves to diagnose Fibromyalgia. I’ll be honest I thought for a while we were just seeing the same study popping back up in the news (and it frustrated me); however, I’ve realized I was wrong. There have actually been a couple of studies in as many years that have made this connection. That said all of the studies I’ve read have been very small (less than 30 participants), and they are not finding that all of the Fibromyalgia patients have this (only about 50% of those in the studies). However, these studies may be a stepping stone to uncovering one potential cause for the pain associated with Fibromyalgia.

But, what is Small Fiber Neuropathy?

Small Fiber Polyneuropathy (SFPN) is a disease (yes, an actual disease) that cause degeneration in the small fiber neurons. The small fiber nerves are the ones that transmit the information about pain and temperature. These small fibers are also involved in many areas of the autonomic nervous system (the part that controls the automatic features like breathing, digestion, blood flow), so it’s a little more than just burning and itching in the feet.

Unlike problems in the large nerves small fiber neuropathies don’t show up in EMG and nerve conduction studies. SFPN is most commonly associated with diabetes, but can be caused by a variety of other diseases and illnesses, and can even be genetic. A skin biopsy is the primary way of diagnosing SFPN. Unfortunately, diagnosis of SFPN doesn’t do much for those of us with Fibromyalgia except perhaps make us feel like we have a better diagnosis than just Fibromyalgia. The treatments for SFPN are basically the same ones that we already use for Fibromyalgia (anti-depressants, anti-convulsants, topical pain treatments, gabapentin, and tramadol to name a few.

What are the symptoms of Small Fiber Neuropathy? 

Painful burning/ itching feeling in the hands and feet – this seemsto be the primary symptom
Often worse at night and/or made worse with heat or cold – often people can’t stand to have the sheets touching their feet.
Alcohol can also increase this symptom
Digestive symptoms including diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting
Urinary incontinence
Periods of increased heartbeat
Dry eyes/ mouth
Abnormal sweating
orthostatic hypotension
erectile dysfunction
Skin changes in affected areas

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