Pain variability in fibromyalgia is related to activity and rest: role of peripheral tissue impulse input
One article on PainSci cites Staud 2010: A Rational Guide to Fibromyalgia
PainSci commentary on Staud 2010: ?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.
Does activity help fibromyalgia or make it worse? Is rest necessary? Maybe a combination of both is the best answer? This is a study of the effects of alternating exercise with rest on 34 FM patients and 36 age-related healthy controls. Strenuous activity was reported as painful for most FM patients, but overall “clinical pain consistently decreased during the rest periods.” Their conclusions:
Alternating strenuous exercise with brief rest periods not only decreased overall clinical pain of FM subjects but also their mechanical hyperalgesia. No prolonged worsening of overall FM pain and hyperalgesia occurred despite vigorous muscle activity. Our findings contribute further evidence that FM pain and hyperalgesia are at least partially maintained by muscle impulse input, and that some types of exercises may be beneficial for FM.
~ Paul Ingraham
original abstract †Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
Because fibromyalgia (FM) patients frequently report activity-dependent deep tissue pains, impulse input from painful body regions may be relevant for their musculoskeletal complaints. In addition, peripheral impulse input may induce and maintain thermal and mechanical hyperalgesia of FM patients. If so, activity and rest may alternately enhance and diminish intensity of FM pain. However, the effects of exercise on pain are ambiguous in studies of FM. Whereas exercise-only studies demonstrated increased pain and hyperalgesia during and after physical activity, some exercise studies that included rest periods resulted in decreased FM pain and increased function. To further clarify these effects, we examined the effects of alternating exercise with rest on clinical pain and thermal/mechanical hyperalgesia of 34 FM patients and 36 age-matched healthy controls (NC). Using an ergometer, all subjects performed arm exercise to exhaustion twice alternating with 15-minute rest periods. Although strenuous muscle activity was reported as painful by most FM subjects, overall clinical pain consistently decreased during the rest periods. Additionally, FM subjects' pain sensitivity to mechanical pressure decreased after each exercise and rest session.
CONCLUSION: Alternating strenuous exercise with brief rest periods not only decreased overall clinical pain of FM subjects but also their mechanical hyperalgesia. No prolonged worsening of overall FM pain and hyperalgesia occurred despite vigorous muscle activity. Our findings contribute further evidence that FM pain and hyperalgesia are at least partially maintained by muscle impulse input, and that some types of exercises may be beneficial for FM.
PERSPECTIVE: FM is a pain-amplification syndrome that depends at least in part on peripheral tissue impulse input. Whereas muscle activity increased overall pain, short rest periods produced analgesic effects.
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
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- Characteristics of patients with low back and leg pain seeking treatment in primary care: baseline results from the ATLAS cohort study. Konstantinou 2015 BMC Musculoskelet Disord.
- Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of universal school-based mindfulness training compared with normal school provision in reducing risk of mental health problems and promoting well-being in adolescence: the MYRIAD cluster randomised controlled trial. Kuyken 2022 Evid Based Ment Health.
- Is there a relationship between throbbing pain and arterial pulsations? Mirza 2012 J Neurosci.