An estimated 5 million people in the U.S. suffer from fibromyalgia, and massage therapy has been found effective in relieving symptoms of this painful syndrome.

New, unrelated research indicates depression and pain are linked in fibromyalgia patients, and that fibromyalgia patients experience greater pain than do rheumatoid arthritis patients, according to an abstract published on www.pubmed.gov.

The aim of the study was to investigate the interrelationship between self-reported symptoms of depression and pain in fibromyalgia patients compared with rheumatoid arthritis patients.

One hundred patients with fibromyalgia and 50 patients with rheumatoid arthritis were compared with regard to depression and psychopathology, according to the abstract.

Pain intensity was significantly higher in fibromyalgia patients compared with rheumatoid arthritis patients. Fibromyalgia patients also scored significantly higher a depression scale.

“Depression predicts levels of pain in FMS but not in RA and is therefore an important target of intervention,” the authors noted. The research was conducted by investigators in the Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy at Freiburg University Hospital in Freiburg , Germany.

“Self-reported symptoms of pain and depression in primary fibromyalgia syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis” was published in the Nordic Journal of Psychiatry.

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