Dwelling on Pain Interferes with Fibromyalgia Patients’ Ability to Control It, Study Finds

Dwelling on Pain Interferes with Fibromyalgia Patients’ Ability to Control It, Study Finds
Researchers found that dwelling on pain, magnifying its threat, and feeling helpless about it impairs fibromyalgia (FM) patients' ability to control it and leads to its exacerbation. Scientists refer to this pre-occupation with pain as pain catastrophizing. Reducing pain catastrophizing may help improve FM symptoms, the researchers said. Their study, “Catastrophizing Interferes with Cognitive Modulation of Pain in Women with Fibromyalgia,” was published in the journal Pain Medicine. Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition that is also accompanied by sleep disturbance, fatigue, and cognitive problems. The experience of pain in FM is influenced by many factors, including psychological, biological, behavioral, cognitive, and social. One factor, pain catastrophizing, is a cognitive and emotional response to pain that involves a tendency towards dwelling on it, magnifying the threat associated with it, and feeling helpless. Doctors know that pain catastrophizing is related to symptom severity, disability, distress, and poor prognosis. Experimentally, pain catastrophizing has been shown to be associated with increased anticipation, greater sensitivity, and exaggerated brain responses to pain stimuli. Pain modulation refers to a change in pain sensitivity that is mediated by both internal and external factors, the latter of which can include mood, distraction, and exercise. An example of pain modulation is a person feeling less pain when they are distracted. Dysfunctional pain modulation is associated with increased risk of chronic pain and is characte
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