Objectives: To investigate the usefulness of tenderness (tender points count (TPC) and algometer score) to characterise fibromyalgia (FM) severity and symptomatology in women. [The algometer measures pressure-pain.]
Methods: The study sample comprised 174 women aged 51 plus/minus 7 years. We assessed tenderness using pressure algometry; quality of life by means of the Short-Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). We used the FM impact questionnaire (FIQ) to assess FM severity and symptomatology.
Patients were categoriszd according to three FIQ-derived categories: FIQ Less than 70 vs. 70 or more; FIQ Less than 59 vs. 59 or more; and FM-type I and II.
Results: TPC was significantly higher in the group of patients with FIQ 59 or more (16.9 plus/minus 2 vs. 15.6 plus/minus 4, p=0.02), whereas no differences between groups were observed according to FIQ 70 or greater (17.0 plus/minus 2 vs. 16.2 plus/minus 3, p=0.12) or FM type (16.8 plus/minus 3 for type II vs. 15.9 plus/minus 4 for type I, p=0.13).
We observed a significant association between tender point count and FIQ - job difficulty, pain, morning tiredness and stiffness dimensions (all p<0.05), yet it was not correlated with total score of FIQ, FIQ - anxiety, fatigue and depression dimensions (all p>0.05).
Algometer score was lower in the FIQ 70 or more (45.7 plus/minus 12 vs. 51.1 plus/minus 14, p=0.05) and FIQ 59 or greater (46.7 plus/minus 13 vs. 52.7 plus/minus 14, p=0.05) groups, and there were no difference between FM types (48.7 plus/minus 13 vs. 49.5 plus/minus 14 for type II and I respectively, p=0.81). Algometer score was not associated with total score of FIQ or FIQ dimensions (all p 0.1 or more).
Conclusions: Widespread pain and pain hypersensitivity, as measured by tender point count and algometer score, do not seem to be useful to characterize FM severity and symptomatology (measured by FIQ) in women.
Source: Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology, Jul 14, 2011. PMID: 21813058, by Aparicio VA, Carbonell-Baeza A, Ortega FB, Estevez F, Ruiz JR, Delgado-Fernández M. Department of Physical Education and Sport, School of Sports Sciences, University of Granada, Spain, and Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, Unit for Preventive Nutrition, NOVUM, Karolinska Institutet. Sweden. [Email: firstname.lastname@example.org]