Hot feet , hot brain. Great article on gene - brain dysfunction in erythromelalgia ( its not psychosomatic and all in my head ;))

The study 'Hot feet, hot brain' details how somatosensory processing (thalamus, S1), cognitive processing (inferior frontal gyrus), emotional processing (cingulate, basal ganglia and insula) are activated in patients in an erythromelalgic state.

As erythromelalgia is primarily a peripheral disease, there is very little information available on altered brain processing (including associated anxiety, depression) that may be part of the syndrome or secondary to our chronic pain condition. In the rat, in-situ hybridization has shown Na(v) 1.7. to be present in the hypothalamus, habenula,amygdala, parabrachial region, nucleus of the solitary tract, paraventricular thalamic nucleus and posterior pituitary. Many of these structures are involved in autonomic activity.

That altered brain processing (including associated anxiety, depression) may be part of the syndrome or secondary to our chronic pain condition is significant . Many of us know how it feels to be labelled 'psychosomatic' and get referred for psychological assessment- often more than once . Social and emotional isolation is exacerbated when we are misunderstood and/or even disbelieved by well meaning loved ones . In terms of raising awareness re the invisible aspect of EM , 'hot feet, hot brain' is really quite an exciting piece of work .

Key issues raised include;

Possible future role for functional imaging etc as a diagnostic tool

Anxiety as part of the EM syndrome rather than the effect of a chronic pain state

Autonomic dysfunction involved in erthyromelalgic states

Are animals a valid model of human health concerns?

We would love to hear all your thoughts on this article.

174-genenbraindysfunctioninEMHotfeethotbrain.pdf (87.8 KB)

This is a topic not discussed nearly enough for such a common problem. No one understanding, being told you are crazy constantly and the constant pain is enough to drive anyone crazy or at least create stress or anxiety.
For me the hardest part emotional was before diagnosis. I didn’t know what I had so I didn’t know what lifestyle changes would help with my pain and I spent a couple of years going to different doctors often enough to be considered a job just to be told over and over nothing is wrong and it’s stress or all in my head.
The severity of mine would come and go over a few months at a time. When it was easier and I wasn’t in screaming pain I thought…are the doctors right? Was it really that bad? Only to have it all come roaring back to remind me once again.
The mind is susceptible to damage from this and any chronic pain condition. It’s important we learn to do our best at keeping our mind as healthy as can be through this and extremely important that doctors and family members become more educated on this important subject to lessen the emotional damage this condition can inflict.
Take care