Altered Body Awareness May Contribute to Pain Sensitivity in Fibromyalgia, Study Suggests

Altered Body Awareness May Contribute to Pain Sensitivity in Fibromyalgia, Study Suggests
Women with fibromyalgia often have less self-esteem and a distorted perception of their own bodies. This may impair their capacity to process sensory stimuli and contribute to the sensation of chronic pain, according to researchers from Spain. This finding was reported in a small study titled, "Embodied pain in fibromyalgia: Disturbed somatorepresentations and increased plasticity of the body schema," published in the journal Plos One. The sensation of pain is controlled by different elements. Cognitive factors such as attention, anticipation, emotion, and memory of previous pain can affect the way a person perceives pain. Body image and body perception can also contribute to feelings of exacerbated or diminished pain sensitivity. Increasing evidence has suggested an association between a patient's chronic pain and a distorted image of their body. To better understand whether body awareness is associated with pain sensation, researchers from the University of the Basque Country in northern Spain evaluated 14 women with fibromyalgia and 13 healthy volunteers. Several fundamental aspects of body awareness were analyzed, including plasticity of the body response and movement, body image, and awareness of normal body activity. Women with fibromyalgia were found to have lower self-esteem than their healthy counterparts, reporting less satisfaction with their bodies. The patients had lower scores for all items when measured by the Body Esteem Scale (BES). Regions of the body with lower scores were found to be those where patients felt the
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