Fibromyalgia patients often seek massage and other touch therapies to alleviate pain, and research has shown massage eases symptoms, decreases pain and improves sleep in fibromyalgia patients.

New research illuminates the mind-body connection in relation to fibromyalgia, a condition consisting of widespread pain, insomnia, fatigue and depression. The research indicates that rumination along with feelings of helplessness and magnification, together termed catastrophisation, contribute to the duration of pain experienced by fibromyalgia patients.

Catastrophisation is considered to be a key clinical symptom in fibromyalgia, according to an abstract published on

In this cross-sectional study, a sample of 328 fibromyalgia patients was divided into three groups based on level of chronicity: Group A (six months to two years); Group B (two to four years); and Group C (more than four years).

Pain Catastrophising Scale scores were strongly associated with pain and impact in all the stages of chronicity, the abstract noted; however, for Group A, a regression analysis revealed that rumination predicted fibromyalgia impact beyond the variance accounted for by age and pain. Both magnification and helplessness predicted impact in Group B, and helplessness was a significant predictor of impact in Group C.

“These findings provide preliminary evidence that stage of chronicity is an important moderator of psychological vulnerability for fibromyalgia impact and should be taken into account by tailoring psychological interventions,” the abstract noted.

“Stages of chronicity in fibromyalgia and pain catastrophising: a cross-sectional study” was published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. (2010 Oct 27;11(1):251.)

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