Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology, Functie Afdeling, Hospital Group Twente ZGT, Hengelo, The Netherlands. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fibromyalgia (FM) is a disorder characterised by chronic widespread pain in soft tissues, especially in muscles. Previous research has demonstrated a higher muscle fibre conduction velocity (CV) in painful muscles of FM patients. The primary goal of this study was to investigate whether there is also a difference in CV in non-painful, non-tender point (TP) related muscles between FM patients and controls. The secondary goal was to explore associations between the CV, the number of TPs and the complaints in FM.
Surface electromyography (sEMG) was performed on the biceps brachii muscle of female FM patients (13) and matched healthy controls (13). Short static contractions were applied with the arm unloaded and loaded at 5% and 10% of maximum voluntary force. The CV was derived by cross-correlation method (CV-cc) and inter-peak latency method (CV-ipl). TP score and Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) were performed in all participants. Correlations were calculated between the CVs, TP score and items of the FIQ.
In FM patients, the CV was higher than in the controls (CV-cc p=0.005; CV-ipl p=0.022). The CV was correlated with the number of TPs in FM patients (r=0.642 and 0.672 for CV-cc and CV-ipl, respectively). No correlations were found between the CV and any aspect of health status on the FIQ.
The results demonstrate abnormally high muscle membrane conduction velocity in FM, even in non-TP muscles. In addition, a relationship has been found between the high membrane velocity and the number of TPs.