Pain intensity & health locus of control: a comparison of patients with fibromyalgia (FM) syndrome & RA

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The major purpose of this study was to determine if 31 patients with

fibromyalgia syndrome (FS) reported different pain intensity

and Health Locus of Control (HLC) scores than 30 patients with

rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Another purpose was to determine

the relationship among experienced actual pain (present,

usual, worse, least), recalled prior episodes of pain (worse

toothache, headache, and stomach ache), HLC orientation, age

and the duration of the actual pain. Visual Analogue Scales

were used to measure pain intensity. The Health Locus of

Control Scale was used to determine external/internal

orientation. The results showed that the FS patients reported

significantly more intense actual pain, recalled pain for

worse toothache and headache, and were more externally

oriented than the RA patients. Present pain intensity was

significantly correlated to actual intensity ratings, but not

to reported earlier experienced pain, except for worse

stomach ache in the RA group. The findings’ implications for

treatment and education are discussed.

Gustafsson M, Gaston-Johansson F

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