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Fibromyalgia and Chickenpox: Is There a Connection?

The Relationship between Fibro, Chicken pox and Herpes Simplex Virus

Chickenpox and Shingles are both caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) with the difference being one’s stage of life.  Once infected by HSV, the body mounts an immune response and ultimately controls the infection but never entirely removes it from the body. HSV stays in a part of the nervous system called a dorsal root ganglion.  It is believed that as long as an individual has a strong immune system, HSV will not reemerge.

There is exciting new research in the area of Fibromyalgia (Fibro) looking at the possible connection between Fibro and HSV infection as the cause of symptoms. Some researchers believe that the “flare ups” associated with Fibro might be similar to the Shingles flare ups that many experience -- the re-emergence of HSV leads to an immune response and inflammation all of which contributes to the pain, physical sensations, and damage most often associated with Fibro.  

The HSV-related viral hypothesis of Fibro has resulted in the development of a combination therapy approach now entering clinical trials which entails an antiviral medication coupled to an anti-inflammatory agent.  The chronic, low-grade, lingering infection appears to fester, causing inflammatory damage to the body in both a localized and non-localized manner, making a proper diagnosis by a physician problematic. The national trial includes local clinics who are seeking volunteers.

Why volunteer for a clinical trial?  

Individuals that volunteer in clinical trials do so for various reasons.  Most recently, COVID-19 spread worldwide resulting in changes to everyday life. Thousands of individuals volunteered for vaccine trials in hopes that their participation would help protect them AND would give others around the world an answer and a promise of immunity.

Volunteers in Fibro studies are usually individuals that have received treatment with little to no response or relief.  It is their frustration over the lack of response to medications, the limited understanding or acceptance that Fibro is a real disease, side effects to standard treatments, or concern over addiction/ dependence that drives them to seek out clinical trials. 

 

The physicians and clinicians conducting these trials are monitoring whether people gain an improvement in their Quality of Life (QOL).   Regardless of whether they experience improvement or not, volunteers state the experience of participating in a clinical study helps them develop better insight into their condition which in turn can make it easier to discuss their condition and their response to medications with their healthcare provider.

Dr. Sambunaris & Associates and its sister agency, the Institute for Advanced Medical Research, are on the forefront of introducing new treatments (via private practice) or testing potential new treatments (via the medical research arm of the clinic) for illnesses such as Fibromyalgia, Depression, Binge Eating Disorder, ADHD, PTSD, and more.  To learn more, call us and speak with one of our Coordinators!

 

 

 

Author
Angelo Sambunaris, M.D.

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