Intramuscular Pressure is Almost Three Times Higher in Fibromyalgia Patients: A Possible Mechanism for Understanding the Muscle Pain and Tenderness.

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Widespread pain in the fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is conventionally viewed as arising from disordered central processing. This study examines intramuscular pressure in the trapezius as an alternative mechanism for understanding FMS pain.108 patients who satisfied the ACR criteria for FMS and 30 patients who met the ACR criteria for another rheumatic disease comprised the study groups. Muscle pressure was measured in mmHg using a pressure gauge attached to a No. 22 needle inserted into the mid portion of the trapezius muscle. In addition, FMS patients and rheumatic disease controls had dolorimetry testing, digital palpation, and reported pain scores.Muscle pressure was substantially higher in patients with FMS with a mean value of 33.48± 5.90 mmHg. Only 2 of 108 patients had muscle pressure of <23 mmHg. The mean pressure in rheumatic disease controls was 12.23±3.75 mmHg, with a range from 3-22 mmHg. FMS patients were more tender than controls based on both dolorimetry (p<0.001) and digital palpation (p<0.001). The mean pain score in patients with FMS and controls was 6.68±1.91 and 1.43±1.79 (p<0.001).Pressure in the trapezius muscle of patients with FMS is remarkably elevated and may be an intrinsic feature of FMS that could be monitored as part of the diagnostic evaluation. The burden of the pressure abnormality may help explain the diffuse muscle pain of FMS. Therefore, FMS as a disorder of exclusively central pain processing should be revisited. Therapeutically, the reduction of muscle pressure may change the clinical picture significantly.


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