Diseases Marked by Widespread Pain Can Lead to Fibromyalgia, Large Study Finds

Diseases Marked by Widespread Pain Can Lead to Fibromyalgia, Large Study Finds
People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), endometriosis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are at greater risk of developing fibromyalgia or chronic and widespread pain later in life, a population-based study in Sweden suggests. The data are consistent with the central sensitization phenomena caused by these diseases, leading to onset of fibromyalgia and chronic pain, and highlight the need for pain itself to be a clinical focus in people with such conditions. The study, "A diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, endometriosis or IBD is associated with later onset of fibromyalgia and chronic widespread pain," was published in the European Journal of Pain. Widespread, long-lasting pain is a common symptom of several chronic diseases. Scientists suspect these pain episodes alter the way a person's central nervous system — the brain and spinal cord — perceives pain. It gets oversensitive and over-reactive to pain — a state called central sensitization — making a person experience pain with things that normally are not painful, like a simple touch (allodynia), and to feel more pain with stimuli that are typically not as painful (hyperalgesia). To date, there is limited evidence supporting a cause and effect relationship between the underlying disease and the onset of widespread pain. Researchers investigated if people with a chronic disease who have pain as a common symptom — including those with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), endometriosis, or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) — are more prone to develop widespread pain, including fibromyalgia (FM) or chronic widespread pain (CWP), later in life. For that, the team analyzed the health records of 889,938 adult patients followed from 2007 to 2016, and documented in the Swedish Skåne Healthcare registe
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