Abstract: Are perceived muscle tension, electromyographic hyperactivity and personality traits correlated in the fibromyalgia syndrome?

J Rehabil Med 2002 Mar;34(2):73-9

Kendall SA, Elert J, Ekselius L, Gerdle B.

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linkoping, Sweden. sally.a.kendall@inr.liu.se

PMID: 12019583

The study was performed to investigate the relationship between perceived muscle tension and electromyographic hyperactivity and to what extent electromyographic (EMG) hyperactivity relates to personality traits in fibromyalgics.

Thirty-six females with fibromyalgia performed isokinetic maximal forward flexions of the shoulder combined with surface EMG recordings of the trapezius and infraspinatus muscles. Signal amplitude ratio and peak torque were calculated in the initial and endurance test phases. Pain intensity, perceived general and local shoulder muscle tension, and personality traits using the Karolinska Scales of Personality were assessed pre-test.

Neither perceived muscle tension nor muscular tension personality trait correlated with EMG muscle hyperactivity. Perceived general muscle tension correlated with aspects of anxiety proneness (including muscle tension) of the Karolinska Scales of Personality. Pain intensity interacted with many of the variables.

We propose that when patients with fibromyalgia report muscle tension that they may be expressing something other than physiological muscle tension.

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