Pain Reduces Accuracy of Body Perception in Fibromyalgia Patients, Study Suggests

Pain Reduces Accuracy of Body Perception in Fibromyalgia Patients, Study Suggests
Pain-associated emotions and reactions can reduce the ability of women with fibromyalgia to perceive what's going on inside their body, according to researchers in France. Their findings add to our knowledge of how patients with chronic pain integrate body signals and emotional processing. The study, "Pain and emotion as predictive factors of interoception in fibromyalgia," was published in the journal Journal of Pain Research.  Researchers investigated interoception, the capacity of people to sense the internal state of their body, in fibromyalgia patients, comparing it with healthy people (controls). Some researchers consider it a lesser-known sense, as in the body's five senses. Many studies have indicated that fibromyalgia patients display signs of hypervigilance, a high awareness of potentially negative stimuli. More recent research proposes that fibromyalgia is associated with an abnormally heightened attention to signals from the body, and emotional aspects of pain modulated this effect. These findings suggest that interoception may be amplified in fibromyalgia patients and be influenced by pain. To assess this, researchers analyzed interoception in 21 women with fibromyalgia and 21 healthy women (controls). Interoception was evaluated at three levels: accuracy, awareness, and sensibility. Accuracy was measured by asking participants to mentally count their heartbeats, which were compared with the actual counts measured by an electrocardiogram. Awareness was assessed by asking the women to rate their confidence when performing the accuracy task, and sensibility was rated using the MAIA questionnaire. Other surveys were used to evaluate mood and feelings, self-awareness, level of pain and pain perception, and auditory selective
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