March 18, 2016
1 min read

Pain and fatigue linked to perception of function in women with fibromyalgia

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In a recently published study of women with fibromyalgia, investigators found pain and fatigue explained at least one-third of the variance in patients’ perceived physical performance and function.

The study included 94 women with fibromyalgia diagnosed using the 1990 American College of Rheumatology criteria with at least 11 of 18 tender points, pain greater than four of 10 at the time of a telephone interview, a history of lumbar or cervical pain, at least 4 weeks prior with stable treatment and planned treatment for at least the following 2 months. Patients ranged in age from 20 years to 67 years (mean age 49.2 years) and were enrolled to engage in transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation treatment.

Among the assessment tools used were the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire Revised-Function Subscale (FIQR), Multidimensional Assessment of Fatigue-Activities of Daily Living (MAF-ADL), SF-36 physical function subscale and physical performance. Pain intensity and fatigue also were rated. Other assessments included the Pain Catastrophizing Scale and the Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia to measure fear of movement.

Investigators found no correlation of age and BMI with any control variables; however, psychological traits were significantly associated with each other, including anxiety, pain catastrophizing and depression. A moderate correlation between pain catastrophizing and fear of movement was found, while depression and anxiety were weakly correlated.

Researchers discovered age, BMI and psychological factors accounted for 11% to 22% of variance in perceived function, and the inclusion of pain or fatigue was significantly more predictive of functional outcomes based on the FIQR. However, resting pain did not account for MAF-ADL scores.

“Overall, self-reported movement pain and fatigue intensities explained a higher proportion of the variance observed in all three perceived function assessments [than] self-reported resting pain and fatigue intensities,” the researchers wrote. “This was most notable for the resting pain scores as resting fatigue typically explained a greater proportion of perceived function than resting pain. However, movement pain intensity was often superior to movement fatigue intensity when they were considered in isolation.” – by Shirley Pulawski

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.