The effects of anger and sadness on clinical pain reports and experimentally-induced pain thresholds in women with and without fibromyalgia – Source: Arthritis Care & Research, Apr 21, 2010

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Objective: Negative emotions are commonly experienced in fibromyalgia and may affect pain. This study examined the effects of anger and sadness on clinical pain reports and on pain threshold and tolerance in response to electrical stimulation in women with and without fibromyalgia.

Methods: In an experimental study, 62 women with fibromyalgia and 59 women without fibromyalgia recalled a neutral situation followed by recalling both an anger-inducing and a sadness-inducing situation, in counterbalanced order.

The effect of these emotions on pain responses (non-induced clinical pain and experimentally-induced sensory threshold, pain threshold, and pain tolerance) was analyzed with repeated measures analysis of variance.

Results: Clinical pain reports increased (p<.001) in women with fibromyalgia and pain threshold (p<.001) and tolerance (p<.001) decreased in both groups in response to anger and sadness induction.

Sadness reactivity predicted clinical pain responses.

Anger reactivity predicted both clinical and electrically stimulated pain responses.

Conclusion:
The experience of both anger and sadness amplifies pain in women with and without fibromyalgia.

A stronger emotion-induced pain response was associated with more emotional reactivity.

No convincing evidence was found for a larger sensitivity to anger and sadness in women with fibromyalgia than in women without fibromyalgia, or for a larger sensitivity to anger than to sadness in fibromyalgia.

The occurrence of anger and sadness appears to be a general risk factor for pain amplification.

Emotion regulation techniques may attenuate emotional pain sensitization in patients with fibromyalgia.

Source: Arthritis Care & Research, Apr 21, 2010. PMID: 20506177 by Van Middendorp H, Lumley MA, Jacobs JWG, Bijlsma JWJ, Geenen R. Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands; Department of Psychology, Wayne State University, Detroit, USA; Department of Rheumatology & Clinical Immunology, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands. [Email: H.vanMiddendorp@uu.nl]

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2 thoughts on “The effects of anger and sadness on clinical pain reports and experimentally-induced pain thresholds in women with and without fibromyalgia – Source: Arthritis Care & Research, Apr 21, 2010”

  1. IanH says:

    When I was first diagnosed with FMS 15 years ago I was questioned about my anger and told that FMS was highly correlated with a variety of psychopathologies. The Rheumatologist didn’t know when he said it that I was a Psychologist (and a Biochemist) I promptly searched the journals for such correlations. There were no such correlations. Later CBT was shown to help. Subsequently I was required to see another (fourth by this time) Rheumatologist by my insurance company who once again tried the same old “psycho-” thing. I was ready for him. Can you point to the references/research which has lead you to this conclusion?

    Some physicians seem to continue this idea that if CBT helped then the cause must be psychological. They need to go back and study Philosophy/logic 101

  2. autumnkay99 says:

    As a Fibromyalgia sufferer for over 30 yrs, I find this article to not be the case with myself. In fact, noting in particular, except weather, exhaustion, over-exertion, anything, where I am worn out physically has anything to do with pain amplication in my case. Matter of fact, I have several persons who we would all tell you that we do not believe these studies, especially, putting a non-FMS patient in the same category.
    If this were the case, everyone, in the world would be hurting as bad as we do, not to mention all the other overlapping conditions that are associated with Fibromyalgia. I’m not saying that either of these groups didn’t experience pain after being angry and or sad, but I find this to be a temporary conditon.
    I take anti-depressants to deal with my disease, and it helps me deal with this condition, but above all else, doesnt make me pain free.
    I would like to know more about this study, and further studies.

    Thank you

    Anita W.>Fibromyalgia&Arthritis patient

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