Dopamine and the Fibro Brain.

“People with Fibromyalgia are deficient in Dopamine in the brain.” -Dr. Patrick Wood.

I was watching a lecture given by Dr. Patrick Wood on Fibromyalgia New Insights, New Hope.* He was sharing his brain scan results with some medical students. I was utterly shocked by his lecture and what his studies have found so far. I will write about a highlighted portion of his lecture that presents proven data. The other exciting studies he raised are still hypothesized theories to be tested. Until proven, these theories are still controversial arguments in the medical field today. I will write about the factual, proven information he presented during his lecture.

Just what is Dopamine? Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, this is a chemical released by nerve cells to send signals to other nerve cells. (Hello, I have been sent to stop your pain!) Synthetic Dopamine can be given, usually intravenously, to assist with anti-nausea agents, Restless Leg Syndrome and ADHD. Its peripheral effects also make it a valuable treatment source in cases of shock or heart failure, especially in newborns. However synthetic Dopamine cannot reach the brain from the bloodstream.

People with fibromyalgia do not produce enough Dopamine in the brain to produce pain relieving natural resources in the body. Dr. Patrick Wood is a family practitioner but became interested in working with fibro patients after his “superiors” said, quite bluntly, they did not believe in fibromyalgia. Dr. Wood was shocked to learn fibromyalgia is known as the “F” word in the medical community. Dr. Wood began working with fibromyalgia patients, focusing on pain response by taking pictures of the brain when painful stimuli were administered to both a fibromyalgia group and a “healthy” test group.

Brain MRI’s and PET scans confirmed that when administered painful stimuli the brain did not produce dopamine in the individuals with fibromyalgia. But in those same individuals, the body released vast amounts of opioids and substance P which occur naturally in the body to fight pain. The lessons learned so far is that the brain appears to be asleep because it is not producing the needed amount of dopamine to respond to painful stimuli. At the same time, the body is in overdrive producing pain-relieving endorphins and is overloading the body with these pain responding substandard substances (opioids and substance P). This overabundance has been confirmed by taking samples from the spinal fluid. When a fibromyalgia patient was put on pain-relieving medications, they are already naturally full of opioid pain-fighting endorphins. This is why it is so challenging to medicate the individual with pain relievers. The dose of these pain relievers must vary significantly from individual to individual as the pain experience from the lack of adequate Dopamine in the brain is difficult to relieve.

Finally, I must mention another point from Dr. Wood’s lecture. Low iron. The fibromyalgia patient that is low in iron has a difficult time producing Dopamine. Iron produces Dopamine. These low iron levels work as an invitation for fibromyalgia fog, Restless Legs Syndrome and fibromyalgia pain and flares. Iron levels must be checked and, if low,  brought to a normal range to assist with making Dopamine in the brain.

In conclusion, there is no doubt that the brain of a fibromyalgia patient is smaller (atrophied) and shows damage,  the question is;

“Did the brain become damaged due to the fibromyalgia diagnosis or was the brain already damaged and that lead to the diagnosis?”

The answer to this question is not known. It is understood the brain can get better. The brain can heal. But the issue remains what came first, as with the chicken or the egg?

Dr. Wood was asked if there will be a cure for fibromyalgia, his answer? “The Future is Bright.”


*To see more of Dr. Woods lecture go to YouTube. Fibromyalgia New Insights, New Hope. Dr. Patrick Wood lectures on this site, and it is now on YouTube. Fascinating additional information is presented!

(Fibromyalgia and PTSD linked!)

14 thoughts on “Dopamine and the Fibro Brain.

Add yours

  1. Hello Kim,
    A very interesting summary of this new research… the iron factor sounds like it could hold some promise too! Too much iron causes issues so it makes sense that the reverse would too.
    They are edging closer to a discovery all the time.
    Wishing you well
    💐 Di

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great to hear from you Di! I had some technical difficulties and lost your blog! But I found you just yesterday! Yes, I think iron will play a significant role in our health. I am anemic so I am aware of just how badly deficiencies in iron hurt the body. Make sense the brain would be effected as well. Thanks Di! ~Kim

      Liked by 1 person

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