Experimental Setting of Studies May Affect How Fibromyalgia Patients Score Pain, Researchers Suggest

Experimental Setting of Studies May Affect How Fibromyalgia Patients Score Pain, Researchers Suggest
The experimental setting of pain research studies may influence how fibromyalgia (FM) patients rate their pain, an interview-based study suggests. The study, “Fibromyalgia patients and healthy volunteers express difficulties and variability in rating experimental pain: a qualitative study,” was published in the Scandinavian Journal of Pain. Experimental pain research studies in humans have helped researchers understand the mechanisms behind chronic pain diseases, such as fibromyalgia. However, few studies have examined how participants score their pain during these experiments. Understanding this process will allow researchers to improve the set-up and design of their experiments. In this study, researchers conducted interviews to capture the thought processes of participants while rating experimental pain. The study enrolled 31 fibromyalgia patients and 44 healthy volunteers who had just participated in an experiment examining the mechanisms of pain control in chronic pain. During the experiment, the participants had a thermode (hot bar) applied to their skin to induce painful heat stimuli. Participants were asked to think back to when they were in the pain experiment and how they decided on their pain score. Those who found it difficult to decide on a pain score were asked to identify the reason why. Both the pain experiment and the interviews were performed at the National Institutes of Health. When rating pain during the exper
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