article on sensory overload FM CFS

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by ephemera, Jun 11, 2008.

  1. ephemera

    ephemera New Member

    Saw this elsewhere & thought this abstract of importance to those of us who suffer from sensory overload. There is so little literature on this symptom & it is my worst problem. If interested, read to the last sentence. I hope this full article is posted to the library here.

    Psychosomatics 49:235-242, May 2008

    Comorbid Somatic Symptoms and Functional Status in Patients With Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Sensory Amplification as a Common Mechanism
    Michael E. Geisser, Ph.D., Cathy Strader Donnell, Ph.D., Frank Petzke, M.D., Richard H. Gracely, Ph.D., Daniel J. Clauw, M.D., and David A. Williams, Ph.D.

    BACKGROUND: Somatic symptoms are common in conditions such as fibromyalgia (FM) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). OBJECTIVE: Authors investigated a potential shared pathologic mechanism: a generalized perceptual abnormality where there is heightened responsiveness to varied sensory stimulation, including pain.

    METHOD: A composite measure of sensory sensitivity was created and compared with measures of somatic symptoms, comorbid psychological disturbances, and self-reported physical functioning in 38 patients with FM and/or CFS.

    RESULTS: Sensory amplification influenced physical functioning indirectly through pain intensity, and physical symptoms and fatigue also independently contributed to physical functioning.

    CONCLUSION: Sensory amplification may be an underlying pathophysiologic mechanism in these disorders that is relatively independent of depression and depressive symptoms.

  2. mezombie

    mezombie Member

    "CONCLUSION: Sensory amplification may be an underlying pathophysiologic mechanism in these disorders..."

    OK. It's a first step. Let's hope more research on this follows!

    Thanks for posting this Ephemera. This is my worst symptom, too!
  3. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Klonopin helps with both pain and sensory overload. Dr. Cheney believes we live in a slight state of seizure which aplifies sensory input. It also keeps us from being able to slip into a slight state of coma (which is the definition of sleep) at night. Klonopin helps with this too. It's been a God send for me but when I wean off, it will have to be done very, very slowly.

    Love, Mikie
  4. layla1954

    layla1954 New Member

    My DDs were slow-onset; I used to have what I would consider a pretty normal tolerance for sensory stimuli, and a nice, high pain tolerance (birthed two babies w/no drugs!). Now I'm highly sensitive to noise, bright light/glare, chemical odors, etc., things that never used to bother me, so I know the amping up of sensory sensitivity was in my case at least, acquired over time somehow not something I was born with.

    Wouldn't "sensory amplification" probably eventually lead to "sensory overload" for most people?

  5. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    As my Mom used to say. No one thing works for everyone and it's great that there are various treatments available. Whether amplification and overload are the same or different situations, Klonopin has helped many to deal with the problem(s). It's not for everyone, but then, nothing is.

    All I know is that FMS pain is amplified and something called, Substance P, found in spinal fluid, is suspected as playing a part in this. Klonopin and Neurontin have been found, over time, to reduce pain.

    I used to never be able to even go into Wal-Mart or eat in noisy restaurants. Then, I discovered that if I slipped a small piece of Klonopin under my tongue, the noise, movement, and harsh lighting no longer sent me into sensory overload.

    Regardless of whether it's overload or amplification, many of us suffer from touch, smell, light, movement and noise. This can make our lives miserable. I'm glad it's getting some attention.

    Love, Mikie
  6. layla1954

    layla1954 New Member

    Hi nofool, and thanks for your commentary... you have given me much food for thought!

    I'm not familiar with Goldstein's work and willl definitely explore it further. Meanwhile, I have a couple of questions: he refers to CFS as "a disorder of the management of sensory input by the brain." When you describe this as a gating dysfunction, does that mean a failure of sensory filtering mechanisms? So it's not that the incoming data (from either internal or external sources) is "amplified," but that the brain is failing to discriminate whether input is significant or insignificant, and essentially "treating everything the same"? I'm thinking a combination of genetic predisposition and either chronic or severe acute stresses on the system (from whatever combination of sources - emotional or physical trauma, viral or bacterial illness, lifestyle, poor nutrition, etc. etc.) could certainly be the set-up for a gating failure, but what's the triggering mechanism? Disruption of neurotransmitters? Do you think chronic low-level hyperventilation could be an additional factor? And branching off in another direction a little bit, could there be a relationship between filtering or gating dysfunction and sensory integration deficits, and could that at least partially account for cognitive impairment? What do you think about the hypothesized connection between CFS and Autism Spectrum Disorders?

    Um,sorry this got so long, and so many questions. I just find this line of inquiry really interesting. Thanks in advance for your input!