The role of benign joint hypermobility in the pain experience in Juvenile Fibromyalgia: an observational study
1 Division of Rheumatology, MLC 4010, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Avenue, Cincinnati, OH, 45229, USA
2 Pediatric Rheumatology Unit, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel
3 Division of Pediatric Rheumatology, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA
4 Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, USA
5 Center of Pediatric Rheumatology, Cleveland Clinic, Cincinnati, OH, USA
Pediatric Rheumatology 2012, 10:16 doi:10.1186/1546-0096-10-16Published: 15 June 2012
Juvenile Fibromyalgia (JFM) is characterized by chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain and approximately 40% of children and adolescents with JFM also suffer from benign joint hypermobility (HM). It is not currently known if the presence of HM affects the pain experience of adolescents with JFM. The objective of this study was to examine whether there were any differences in self-reported pain intensity and physiologic pain sensitivity between JFM patients with and without joint HM.
One hundred thirty-one adolescent patients with JFM recruited from four pediatric rheumatology clinics completed a daily visual analogue scale (VAS) pain rating for one week and underwent a standardized 18-count tender point (TP) dolorimeter assessment. Medical records were reviewed for the presence of joint HM. Average pain VAS ratings, tender point count and tender point sensitivity were compared between JFM patients with and without hypermobility (HM+ and HM-).
Nearly half (48%) the sample of JFM patients were found to be HM+. HM+ and HM- patients did not differ in their self-reported pain intensity. However, HM + patients had significantly greater pain sensitivity, with lower TP thresholds (p = 0.002) and a greater number of painful TPs (p = 0.003) compared to HM- patients.
The presence of HM among adolescent patients with JFM appears to be associated with enhanced physiologic pain sensitivity, but not self-report of clinical pain. Further examination of the mechanisms for increased pain sensitivity associated with HM, especially in adolescents with widespread pain conditions such as JFM is warranted.