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Effect of light & season on pain & depression in subjects with rheumatic disorders

  [ 46 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
www.ProHealth.com • November 3, 1994


The clinical and neurochemical association between depression and
season noted in seasonal affective disorder (SAD) has
suggested that clinical pain might also be linked to season,
perhaps through similar neurochemistry or the known
association of depression with pain. We investigated the
pain-light season/dark season hypothesis in 2523 rheumatic
disease outpatients by examining VAS Pain and VAS Global
Severity scores, as well as levels of depression and
functional disability. No clinically significant difference in
pain severity between season (or individual month) was noted
for the consecutive outpatients at their first clinic visit,
nor in sub-analyses using paired light and dark season visits.
A slight trend toward increased pain severity in lighter
months by about 3% compared to darker months was identified.
No effect of season was seen on depression scores. In a subset
of patients with high depression scores, rheumatoid arthritis
and osteoarthritis patients, respectively, reported 16% and 7%
greater pain scores in light compared to dark months, but
fibromyalgia patients had stable scores. Season does not
appear to play an important role in pain and/or depression in
rheumatic disorders.

Hawley DJ, Wolfe F




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