Does one pain "cancel" another?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by lvjesus, Aug 9, 2012.

  1. lvjesus

    lvjesus Member

    Something strange I've noticed and wonder if anyone else experiences this. For the past few weeks my ribs have been givingme a lot of trouble. They hurt when I woke up and off and on through the day. On Monday I did something AWFUL to my back and it has hurt like hell ever since; however, my RIBS are fine. What?

    Anyone else noticed this "pain exchange"?

    P.S. I think I figured out what is causing my back pain. Degenerative disc diseases seems to fit my symptoms especially what was said about the pain being worse while sitting and standing but better when walking.

    Seems that it will go away on it's own eventually (the pain).[This Message was Edited on 08/11/2012]
  2. MicheleK

    MicheleK Member

    Sonya, I am glad you brought this up. This happens so often in patients and is one of the things that leads to us wondering if we are imagining this stuff! But we are not! I experience this often. I'll be interested to hear other patients experiences regarding this "pain exchange". By the way it's not limited to pain. It happens with all sorts of symptoms. Some turn off and others immediately turn on and take their place. Since we have dysregulation of the central nervous system which includes the autonomic nervous system, it really is explainable. It's like having a mad scientist controlling some of the switches in our brains. I'd like to evict him!!! lol Hugs, MicheleK
  3. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    If we get a slight injury or have surgery, our bodies concentrate on healing that issue and the old pain signals will stop. Our FMS pain is real; we feel it but it is the result of the brain's sending out false alarms. FMS pain serves no purpose like pain from an injury does. No only do our brains send out these signals but they get amplified in our systems.

    Love, Mikie
  4. lvjesus

    lvjesus Member

    What I think Mikie is saying is that when you have a "legit" pain from an injury the "psuedo" pain (and I DO NOT mean imaginary!!!at all!) of FM goes away. Like your body is saying, okay now here is a real injury and I'll get back to torturing you in other ways later!? Hate this DD by the way. It that even needs to be said. :p

  5. IanH

    IanH Active Member

    The scenario is a common one with FM. Person has Fm. has a bout of severe sharp back pain and FM pain seems to subside for a while. It is true that pain competes.

    The pain signal travels from the periphery to the spinal cord along an A-delta or a C fiber. Because the A-delta fiber is thicker than the C fiber, and is thinly sheathed in myelin, it carries its signal faster than the unmyelinated C fiber. Pain evoked by the (faster) A-delta fibers is described as sharp and is felt first. This is followed by a duller pain, often described as burning, carried by the C fibers.

    FM pain is mostly characterized as neuropathic, burning type pain. There is no anatomical or nerve damage but the immune system has elevated a number of pain proteins responsible for the transmission/amplification. In addition FM is a low level inflammatory condition meaning that immune pro-inflammatory cytokines (proteins) are elevated. So, all over your body is an inflammatory condition with amplified pain. So FM is not pseudo-pain, it is just that the pain is biochemically produced not anatomically produced.

    Hence the arthritic injury producing sharp (anatomical) pain gets through first and reduces the perception of the FM pain which is "probably" going along the c fibers.

    There are other ideas/theories as well: The FM pain is constantly there. Any sensation which is constantly there is "ignored" by your brain (I wish) eg a smell in the air will not be smelled after a period of time. Pain is a sensation and obeys those rules - to a degree. When the sharp injury pain comes along it is new and so gets priority of attention and sensation.

    However people are all different and these theories are contravened by some people which suggests that pain production and sensation are partly genetically variant.
    [This Message was Edited on 08/11/2012]
  6. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Yes, it was years ago and I still have it, but I digress...After I got pierced, I had a sensation of euphoria. Yes, where it was pierced was tender but I felt my pain kinda got centered there and not anywhere else. I have my tasteful (is a tasteful navel piercing an oxymoron?) little gold ring. I've had it so long that it's become a part of me. you can't imagine the smiles I get when a new doc or nurse sees it for the first time.

    When I had my gallbladder surgery, the doc went in from the bottom of the navel so I could put the ring back in afterward. I figured I would just leave it out but missed it so much, I put it back in after a week. When I have an upset stomach, I rub in a circle, touching the ring, and it really helps.

    Ian, thanks for the more technical explanation which, I feel, agrees with what I believe happens with our pain.

    Love, Mikie
  7. lvjesus

    lvjesus Member

    That was a great, easy to understan explaination and makes perfect sense.
  8. Yes it happens alll the time to me, I often wondered why myself. Also Mikie as usual is right with fibro my dr. said also "Not only do our brains send out these signals but they get amplified in our systems." Different with "normal" people. Fibro peoples pain is amplified way more so than others without fibro unfortunately for us.
    [This Message was Edited on 08/13/2012]