Does Pain and Pain Behavior Play a Role in a Fibromyalgia Tender Point Scores?

Summary

A study was conducted to determine how pain levels and behavior, stress, and depression play a role in fibromyalgia (FM) patient’s tender point scores.

The study included 111 FM patients recruited from community, private, and university clinics. Patients were evaluated on their level of pain, pain behavior, stress, and depression. Tender point tests were conducted on 18 areas as specified by the American College of Rheumatology criteria.

Results of the study indicated that pain levels and behavior do play a role in tender point scores; however, stress and depression do not.

Abstract

PERRY M. NICASSIO, MICHAEL H. WEISMAN, CATHERINE SCHUMAN, and CORINNA W. YOUNG

Objective: To determine and assess the significance of the independent role of pain, pain behavior, depression, and weekly stress in tender point scores in objectively diagnosed fibromyalgia (FM) patients.

Methods: One hundred eleven patients with FM recruited from the community and private and university based clinics participated in a comprehensive evaluation of their pain, psychological distress, and pain behavior. Tender point assessment was carried out across 18 discrete sites according to American College of Rheumatology criteria. Pain was assessed with a composite index of 4 pain measures; psychological distress consisted of measures of stress and depression, and pain behavior was measured by an objective index derived from a 10 minute videotaped sequence in which 5 pain behaviors were recorded.

Results: Multiple regression analyses revealed that high pain, high pain behavior, and shorter illness duration were related independently to tender point scores. Measures of depression and weekly stress were not independently related to tender point scores.

Conclusion: Tender point scores are related to generalized pain and pain behavior tendencies in patients with FM, and do not independently reflect generalized psychological distress. (J Rheumatol 2000;27:1056–62)

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