Evidence of qualitatively altered nociception in patients with fibromyalgia (FM)

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OBJECTIVE: To investigate the perception of pain in tender muscles

of patients with fibromyalgia.

METHODS: Twenty-five women

with fibromyalgia and 25 healthy women were examined. Seven

different pressure intensities were used to palpate a highly

tender muscle and a largely normal muscle. Subjects then

recorded their response to induced pain on a visual analog

scale. The examiner was blinded to each subject’s response.

RESULTS: The stimulus-response function for pressure versus

pain recorded for normal muscle was well described by a power

function. For highly tender muscle, the stimulus-response

function was displaced toward lower pressures and, more

importantly, it was linear, i.e., qualitatively different

from that of normal muscle.

CONCLUSION: This study

demonstrates that nociception is qualitatively altered in

patients with fibromyalgia, which is consistent with recent

findings in other patients with tender muscles. The data

strongly indicate that fibromyalgic pain, at least in part,

is due to aberrant central pain mechanisms.

MCM: Used painful palpation and subjective VAS for pain

intensity in 25 females w FM compared to controls. Concludes

… “nociception is qualitatively altered in pts w FM, which

is consistent w recent findings in other pts w tender muscles.

The data strongly indicate that fibromyalgic pain, at least

in part, is due to aberrant pain mechanisms.”

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