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Could Music be therapy for Fibromyalgia?

Updated: Oct 13

Dear purple butterflies,

Growing up I was raised around all types of music. I am part of the MTV generation. When I had free time as a kid, I spent it memorizing my favorite songs. On the weekends, I would compete with my friends to see who was the biggest fan of the popular groups. I wouldn't give up those childhood days for anything.






Last time I spoke about Lady Gaga. Now wanting to further my research, I began wondering, if listening to music could be a form of therapy for Fibromyalgia? Music as a pain intervention for Fibromyalgia,Neuroimaging of patients with centralized pain uncovers clues about how music, and music response, may provide relief,” caught my attention right away! During pain management research, listening to music can help with a lot of painful situations that are so powerful that it can result in "analgesia" (the inability to feel pain). In 2015, doctors discovered that their patient's pain level was reduced significantly after surgery due to listening to music.


Before his trials of "Music Responses in patients with Fibromyalgia," Dr. Eduardo Garza-Villarreal, MD, Ph.D., along with his associates, focused on MIA in chronic pain and noted that music reduced symptoms of depression and chronic pain. I concur with his findings! If you are like me, you are not familiar with MIA. MIA is an injection of monosodium iodoacetate. It was because of his interest in musical therapy and chronic pain that Dr. Garza- Villarreal decided to start a group trial for Fibromyalgia women. Before he even began work, he was already very knowledgeable about Fibromyalgia.


Twenty women with Fibromyalgia and twenty healthy women (all between their early twenties and seventy years old) participated in the age-matched control group. Each of the ladies contributed a list of songs they thought were easy listening. The patient's test consisted of an fMRI, "functional magnetic resonance imaging used to detect physical changes (as of blood flow) in the brain resulting from increased neuronal activity,"(fMRI -Merriam-Webster dictionary). Afterward, the women reported their pain levels had been as high as a ten and as low as a zero. Dr. Eduardo's team believed that the group of ladies who happen to have Fibromyalgia would reveal a big difference in the "descending pain modulatory system (DPMS) before and after music treatment. 'The DPMS has been described as the system for pain modulation in terms of input in the brain and how the brain perceives pain,' Dr. Garza-Villarreal explained." Along with looking at DPMS, the team examined the Default Mode Network (DMN) test result.


"At baseline, among the 34 brain regions the team selected, they found that connectivity among fibromyalgia patients was increased mainly when compared to healthy individuals. After listening to music, however, connectivity among many regions decreased for the fibromyalgia patients. 'Basically, what we're looking at is a reversion of those circuits into something more normal,' Dr. Garza-Villarreal said. Exposure to music had the opposite effect on healthy individuals; fMRIs revealed an increase in connectivity for them. And, as expected, the pink noise did not have any effect on either fibromyalgia patients or healthy participants." In a nutshell, Dr. Eduardo commented that he suspects music does release the patient from thinking less about their pain. Once again, good doctor, I can attest to this statement! During the final step in this group trial, the doctors observed levels of pain intensity with the music as a critical factor. "Those patients with fibromyalgia reported experiences of pain relief that corresponded by-and-large to reductions in connectivity between regions within both the DPMS and the DMN."


This impressive article left me thirsty for more information about the latest therapy trends for Fibromyalgia in 2020. Dr. Garza- Villareal said that he hopes all his research "will lead to better treatment options for Fibromyalgia. "What plans does the doctor have next? His team is to explore where the analgesia starts and "which aspects of music offer the greatest pain relief." I adored the last quote from Dr. Eduardo, "One of the main things about chronic pain patients is they take a lot of medication,' he

told PPM. So if you can do this with music and at least reduce the medication they get, that's a big win for a lot of people."


I have such high hopes for the future of therapy for Fibromyalgia and chronic pain patients. Reducing medicine by half, that would be wonderful! If they can accomplish taking away medication completely, that would be fantastic! All we can do is pray for solutions and be thankful that we live within a time that science and technology is changing all the time!

With that my butterflies, that is all for this week!

Till next time!

Rachel

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