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Exercise Induced Autonomic Disengagement and Pain in Women Presenting FM and Healthy Women: Analgesia and Blood Pressure

Journal article
Authors Kerstin Wentz
Trevor Archer
Published in Clinical and Experimental Psychology
Volume 3
Issue 3
ISSN 2471-2701
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Psychology
Language en
Subject categories Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)


Objective: The aim of the present analysis was to examine physiological adaptation to a sub-maximal test by measuring blood pressure (BPR) from the perspective of the fibromyalgia (FM) pain experience. Method: Twenty-four women presenting FM and twenty-six healthy women were education- and age-matched. In their homes, all women completed questionnaires regarding background and health related quality of life (SF-36). All the women performed a stepwise load increment submaximal exercise test on a cycle ergometer to the severe perceived exertion level. Blood pressure was recorded before, during and after the test. Result: Women presenting FM showed higher baseline resting systolic BPR (SBPR) and diastolic BPR (DBPR) with higher SBPR and DBPR during the recovery phase. In both groups SBPR and DBPR were correlated at base line. Women presenting FM contrasted to healthy women by BPR measures more frequently correlating during workload. In women with FM the correlative relationship between the SBPR and DBPR during recovery was pronouncedly higher. Clinical pain correlated four times more often with BPR measures in the FM study group as compared to the group of controls. In FM higher clinical pain was linked to lower BPR. Conclusion: In the context of the FM condition, the tests depict a physiologically perseverative pattern concerning SBPR and SBPR measurements. This pattern was pronounced during recovery. A higher level of clinical pain BP corresponded to lower SBPR and SBPR before and after the test confirming an inverse relationship between blood pressure and pain sensitivity in the condition of FM. Parallel, in FM the analgesic effect from BPR was insufficient due to lowered pain thresholds. Pain thresholds linked to dysregulated sympathetic and parasympathetic functions together with psychological functioning and higher levels of brain functioning need further examination.

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