Sunday, April 24, 2016
Melatonin in Chronic Pain Syndromes
Melatonin is a neurohormone secreted by epiphysis and extrapineal structures. It performs several functions including chronobiotic, antioxidant, oncostatic, immune modulating, normothermal, and anxiolytic functions. Melatonin affects the cardiovascular system and gastrointestinal tract, participates in reproduction and metabolism, and body mass regulation. Moreover, recent studies have demonstrated melatonin efficacy in relation to pain syndromes. The present paper reviews the studies on melatonin use in fibromyalgia, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic back pain, and rheumatoid arthritis. The paper discusses the possible mechanisms of melatonin analgesic properties. On one hand, circadian rhythms normalization results in sleep improvement, which is inevitably disordered in chronic pain syndromes, and activation of melatonin adaptive capabilities. On the other hand, there is evidence of melatonin-independent analgesic effect involving melatonin receptors and several neurotransmitter systems.