The effects of static muscular contraction on blood pressure, heart rate, pain ratings and pressure pain thresholds in healthy individuals and patients with Fibromyalgia

Journal: European Journal of Pain. Volume 11, Issue 1, January 2007, Pages 39-47.

Authors and affiliations: Diana Kadetoff, Eva Kosek. Section of Clinical Pain Research, Department of Surgical Sciences, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. (Kosek). [E-mail: eva.kosek@ki.se ]

PMID: 16480906

Aberrations of cardiovascular regulation and dysfunction of endogenous pain modulation have been reported in Fibromyalgia (FM) patients. This study aimed at investigating the interactions between cardiovascular regulation and pain perception during static muscle contractions.

Seventeen FM patients and 17 healthy controls performed a standardized static contraction (m. quadriceps femoris dx) until exhaustion. Blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR), ratings of exertion/fatigue and pain intensity as well as pressure pain thresholds (PPTs) (at m. quadriceps dx and m. deltoideus dx) were assessed before, during and 15 min following contraction.

n Systolic and diastolic blood pressure increased during contraction (p < 0.001) and decreased following contraction (p < 0.001) in both groups alike.

n A significant increase in heart rate was seen during contraction in FM patients (p < 0.001), but not in healthy controls (difference between groups p < 0.02).

n The rated exertion/fatigue and pain intensity increased more during contraction and remained elevated longer following contraction in the [FM] patient group.

n Pressure pain thresholds were lower in [FM] patients compared to controls at both sites at all times (p < 0.001). No group differences in pressure pain thresholds changes over time were found.

n In conclusion, no indication of an attenuated cardiovascular response to exercise was found in our FM patients.

n The more pronounced heart rate increase in [FM] patients during contraction was most likely due to deconditioning. No exercise related change in pressure pain thresholds was seen in either group, most likely due to insufficient exercise intensity, but the contraction induced pain was more pronounced in the FM patients.

Keywords: Fibromyalgia; blood pressure; heart rate; pain ratings; exercise

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