Reducing Stress May Alleviate Long-term Pain of Fibromyalgia, CWP, Study Says

Reducing Stress May Alleviate Long-term Pain of Fibromyalgia, CWP, Study Says
Most women with fibromyalgia and chronic widespread pain tend to experience less pain over time, which can be boosted by reducing their stress levels, a study suggests. The findings of the study, "Stress levels predict substantial improvement in pain intensity after 10 to 12 years in women with fibromyalgia and chronic widespread pain: a cohort study," were published in BMC Rheumatology.  Fibromyalgia and chronic widespread pain (CWP) are chronic medical conditions characterized by widespread pain, tenderness, stiffness, fatigue, psychological distress, and cognitive difficulties. Previous longitudinal studies monitoring the evolution of pain in patients with both disorders have had contradictory results. Some have found that pain escalates over time; others have found that pain decreases over time. "There is limited knowledge of why some patients achieve substantial improvement in pain over time while others do not. A Swedish postal survey showed that higher health-related quality of life at baseline in persons with chronic pain increased the chances of no longer having chronic pain after three years," the investigators said. "On the other hand, factors such as being a woman, having lower education, high body mass index (BMI), higher levels of depression and anxiety, worse sleep, being a former smoker, or having other concomitant disorders have been found to predict an increased risk of still having CWP after 11 years," they added. In this study, a group of researchers from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden set out to monitor the evolution of pain and other debilitating symptoms over a decade in a group of women with fibromyalgia or CWP. The longitudinal, prospective, cohort study (NCT02872129) enrolled 166 women with fibromyalgia or CWP
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