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Abnormal Muscle Membrane Function in Fibromyalgia Patients Correlates with the Number of Tender Points

  [ 67 votes ]   [ 2 Comments ] • December 3, 2012


Abnormal muscle membrane function in fibromyalgia patients and its relationship to the number of tender points.
– Source: Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology. November 22, 2012.

By E.G. Klaver-Krol, M.J. Zwarts, et al.


Objectives: Fibromyalgia (FM) is a disorder characterised by chronic widespread pain in soft tissues, especially in muscles. Previous research has demonstrated a higher muscle fibre conduction velocity (CV) in painful muscles of FM patients. The primary goal of this study was to investigate whether there is also a difference in CV in non-painful, non-tender point (TP) related muscles between FM patients and controls. The secondary goal was to explore associations between the CV, the number of TPs and the complaints in FM.

Surface electromyography (sEMG) was performed on the biceps brachii muscle of female FM patients (13) and matched healthy controls (13). Short static contractions were applied with the arm unloaded and loaded at 5% and 10% of maximum voluntary force. The CV was derived by cross-correlation method (CV-cc) and inter-peak latency method (CV-ipl). TP score and Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) were performed in all participants. Correlations were calculated between the CVs, TP score and items of the FIQ.

In FM patients, the CV was higher than in the controls (CV-cc p=0.005; CV-ipl p=0.022). The CV was correlated with the number of TPs in FM patients (r=0.642 and 0.672 for CV-cc and CV-ipl, respectively). No correlations were found between the CV and any aspect of health status on the FIQ.

The results demonstrate abnormally high muscle membrane conduction velocity in FM, even in non-TP muscles. In addition, a relationship has been found between the high membrane velocity and the number of TPs.

Source: Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology. November 22, 2012. By E.G. Klaer-Krol, M.J. Zwarts, P.M. Ten Klooster, and J.J. Rasker. Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology, Functie Afdeling, Hospital Group Twente ZGT, Hengelo, The Netherlands. E-mail:

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Article Comments Post a Comment

Interesting, but>>>
Posted by: IanH
Dec 3, 2012
They should have reported the association between the conduction velocity with the muscle fibre diameter because these two are highly correlated. They are also correlated INDEPENDENT of the underlying neuromuscular pathology. I would expect that this would also apply to fibromyalgia.

With a cohort size of 13X13 it could be that the real difference is fibre diameter not the fact that subjects have FM. However it may be that subjects with FM generally have greater muscle fibre diameter in key pain areas. We just don't know.
Reply Reply

yet more evidence of muscle dysfunction
Posted by: roge
Dec 6, 2012
but we have been led to believe there isnt any - bunch of balony - it has been clear for 30 years, there is muscle dysfunction in FM and so glad we are finally seeing research in this area.
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