According to Rheumatology Update Stress can exacerbate the symptoms of fibromyalgia in females, Australian research shows.
A study of 98 female patients with FM who were matched with 35 healthy female controls found that higher levels of stress were associated with higher levels of fibromyalgia symptoms.
Perceived stress was significantly associated with the characteristics of fibromyalgia including pain, sleep changes, fatigue, and cognitive dysfunction, authors Katrina Malin and Geoff Littlejohn from Monash Medical Centre reported.
Interestingly, higher levels of stress was associated with higher levels of fibromyalgia symptoms in the healthy controls and the fibromyalgia group.
Speaking to Rheumatology Update, Dr Littlejohn said their findings suggested that better management of stress in general was likely to lessen FM symptoms of pain, sleep, fatigue and poor cognition.
Whether stress is a cause or effect it should be appropriately managed in patients with FM e.g using techniques to gain better control, less catastrophization, more exercise, and other stress management strategies, he said.
Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology 2013; online