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September 12, 2019

New Chronic Pain Relief Therapies, Discovered by Researchers

New pain management therapies are discovered by the day. Recently, a team of researchers at Hiroshima University has identified a new target for chronic pain treatment. Although further research is needed to accurately determine practical therapies for chronic pain suffers. But researchers make progress every day, discovering potential therapies for chronic pain.

According to the team of researchers that made the huge discovery, chronic pain rates are growing annually. Sciatica, endometriosis, cancer and rheumatoid arthritis, these are only some of the conditions that can be treated with the help of the new therapies discovered.  Currently, such affections damage the quality of life of the sufferer and lead to mental health conditions, at the same time. Because these patients live with constant pain, they may be subjected to anxiety and depression. Currently, the medication available will only offer temporary and partial relief.

Activating cell receptors REV-ERBs

Assistant Professor Yoki Nakamura, part of the team at the Hiroshima University, explained that the team discovered a way to activate the REV-ERBs cell receptor. This may open new gates to helping patients with chronic pain live a normal life.

The REV-ERB cell receptors send chemical signals to other cells to block the pain. Certain genes responsible for pain and inflammation in different conditions are deactivated by these receptors. This new discovery can lead the way to high-performing medication for chronic pain sufferers, regardless of the cause of their pain.

However, the road to a final product is still a long one. The protocols the team has to follow until a medicine reaches the market are complex and more research has to be done, too.

Since there are a lot of molecules and cells involved in pain reactions, each of these has to be analysed in detail. Until now, spinal cord pain receptors seem to be deactivated by REV-ERBs, which is promising enough to motivate further research.

Cannabinoids, already in the market

Maybe one of the biggest medical discoveries of the last decade was the use of Cannabinoids in creating better pain management medication. Cannabinoid analgesia induced by the endocannabinoid system and other non-receptor mechanisms in the body, has been proven to alleviate different pain-inducing conditions.

For the rising number of people suffering from debilitating chronic pain, this can only be good news, Royal CBD reports. In Europe, chronic musculoskeletal pain of debilitating nature affects one in four elders. In Australia, the numbers are even gloomier. Half of the older population suffers from chronic pain, and more than 80% of the elders in nursing homes struggle with a form of chronic, debilitating pain.

But elders are not the only ones suffering from chronic pain. Endometriosis is a chronic pain-inducing condition. Around the world, 15% of the female population of reproductive age is suffering from it. The condition makes endometrial tissue grow outside of the uterus and invade neighbouring organs. Women suffering from endometriosis experience chronic pelvic pain, pain during urination, irritable bowel syndrome, pain during intercourse and chronic leg and back pain. Sometimes, endometrial tissue can grow on the brain and lungs.

Although there is no permanent treatment for this condition, CBD oil seems to reduce the symptoms and slow down the condition’s evolution. According to a series of research papers, CBD compounds can help support a healthy reproductive system in women and can help alleviate chronic pain like the one caused by endometriosis.

  • Cannabinoids stop cell multiplication, a normal bodily function that lacks in big proportions in women struggling with this condition. Besides, it has been proven to stop cancer cell growth. According to researchers, the endocannabinoid system is involved in apoptosis and stopping cell growth. When these receptors are activated, they can prevent abnormal cell growth.
  • Cannabinoids stop cell migration. Endometrial cells are believed to travel through the blood flow during a woman’s menstruation. They can also grow and multiply inside the patient’s body even after excision surgery is performed. Because of this reason, re-growth of adhesions is a frequent issue that women with endometriosis struggle with. Molecules like CBD can stop endometriotic cells from migrating, by blocking the activation of the GPR18 receptor. After excision therapies, CBD oil administration is a reliable solution to stop cell migration and endometriosis flare-ups in the future.
  • Cannabinoids and painful nerves. In severe endometriosis cases, women struggle with deep-infiltrating tissue. In these cases, the nerve density of the endometrial tissue is significantly higher. CBD can help prevent vascularization and nerve growth in the said tissue, decreasing the pain patients experience.  

The gut microbiome

Recently, a team at the Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) has discovered a strong correlation between the gut microbiome and different chronic pain conditions. For instance, fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition, with no known cure, which affects between 2%-4% of the world population. Most common symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia are impaired cognitive functions, but also body-wide chronic pain. A team of Montreal-based researchers have discovered abnormalities in the sufferers’ gut microbiome. The presence or lack of certain gut bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract is a determinant factor in this group of population.

The team aims now to discover if similar changes are present in people struggling with other chronic pain, and if altering it can help reduce and potentially treat the conditions.

Having better insights on this matter will help researchers develop new treatment solutions for patients. Discovering a strong link between the gut microbiome and fibromyalgia might help physicians find the right mix of probiotic medication to alleviate this condition and potentially others, with debilitating symptoms.

Frustration and the need to help patients living with chronic pain to live a relatively normal life has fuelled researchers’ desire to find new medication and therapies to ease the symptoms. While some conditions are permanent and no cure is available, prospects for life-changing medications have appeared, thanks to researchers’ dedication.

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