La ricerca più recente sta scoprendo una connessione tra la fibromialgia e l’infiammazione della fascia, che è il tessuto connettivo che circonda tutti i tessuti del corpo (muscoli, nervi, vasi sanguigni, organi, articolazioni ecc). Questo porta ad un argomento dibattuto da anni: livelli cronici bassi di infiammazione vengono “sempre di più associati con la manifestazione di sintomi quali dolore, stanchezza, disturbi della memoria e depressione”. Il processo infiammatorio è uno dei molti processi fisiologici regolati principalmente dal nervo vago che possono essere riportati in equilibrio con gli aggiustamenti chiropratici.
Significant evidence exists for central sensitization in fibromyalgia, however the cause of this process in fibromyalgia-and how it relates to other known abnormalities in fibromyalgia-remains unclear. Central sensitization occurs when persistent nociceptive input leads to increased excitability in the dorsal horn neurons of the spinal cord. In this hyperexcited state, spinal cord neurons produce an enhanced responsiveness to noxious stimulation, and even to formerly innocuous stimulation. No definite evidence of muscle pathology in fibromyalgia has been found. However, there is some evidence for dysfunction of the intramuscular connective tissue, or fascia, in fibromyalgia. This paper proposes that inflammation of the fascia is the source of peripheral nociceptive input that leads to central sensitization in fibromyalgia. The fascial dysfunction is proposed to be due to inadequate growth hormone production and HPA axis dysfunction in fibromyalgia. Fascia is richly innervated, and the major cell of the fascia, the fibroblast, has been shown to secrete pro-inflammatory cytokines, particularly IL-6, in response to strain. Recent biopsy studies using immuno-histochemical staining techniques have found increased levels of collagen and inflammatory mediators in the connective tissue surrounding the muscle cells in fibromyalgia patients. The inflammation of the fascia is similar to that described in conditions such as plantar fasciitis and lateral epicondylitis, and may be better described as a dysfunctional healing response. This may explain why NSAIDs and oral steroids have not been found effective in fibromyalgia. Inflammation and dysfunction of the fascia may lead to central sensitization in fibromyalgia. If this hypothesis is confirmed, it could significantly expand treatment options to include manual therapies directed at the fascia such as Rolfing and myofascial release, and direct further research on the peripheral pathology in fibromyalgia to the fascia.
There is an increasing interest in understanding the biological mechanism underpinning fibromyalgia (FM) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Despite the presence of mixed findings in this area, a few biological systems have been consistently involved, and the increasing number of studies in the field is encouraging. This chapter will focus on inflammatory and oxidative stress pathways and on the neuroendocrine system, which have been more commonly examined. Chronic inflammation, together with raised levels of oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction, has been increasingly associated with the manifestation of symptoms such as pain, fatigue, impaired memory, and depression, which largely characterize at least some patients suffering from CFS and FM. Furthermore, the presence of blunted hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity, with reduced cortisol secretion both at baseline and in response to stimulation tests, suggests a role for the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and cortisol in the pathogenesis of these syndromes. However, to what extent these systems’ abnormalities could be considered as primary or secondary factors causing FM and CFS has yet to be clarified.