, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 515-521

Pain and fatigue in patients with rheumatic disorders

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The purpose of the study was to investigate whether fibromyalgia patients (n=50) differed from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (n=22) and ankylosing spondylitis (n=31) with respect to pain experience, pain coping and fatigue. A high general pain intensity level was recorded by the McGill Pain Questionnaire (p<0.01) and the visual analogue scale (p<0.01) in the fibromyalgia group compared to the other groups. The pain was of continuous duration in the fibromyalgia patients while the rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis patients experienced intermittent pain. A high correlation between sensory and affective pain rating indexes was determined in all patient groups (p<0.01). No statistically significant difference between the groups in pain coping was recorded. A high frequency of reported gastrointestinal problems (p<0.01) and high intensity of fatigue (p<0.01) were seen in the fibromyalgia group compared to the other groups. In the fibromyalgia group there was no correlation between the sleep problems and fatigue intensity. Thus, the fibromyalgia patients differed from the other groups in reporting frequently shoulder and upper arm pain, continuous pain, higher levels of fatigue and pain intensities as well as high frequency of gastrointestinal problems.