Main Article Content
This paper is aimed at investigating whether peripheral dysfunction at the neuromuscular level may represent a pain generator in fibromyalgia. We studied the prevalence of spasmophilia (SP), carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and ulnar neuropathy at the elbow (UNE) in a group of 40 subjects suffering from fibromyalgia. Clinical and electrophysiological data were obtained to ascertain whether comorbid conditions were present. For subjective evaluation of symptoms severity, validated questionnaires for CTS and UNE were completed by patients. Twenty subjects were positive for SP (50%); CTS was diagnosed in 12 subjects (30%); no patient suffered from UNE; 6 subjects were affected at the same time by SP and CTS (15%); 14 subjects (35%) were affected by SP alone. The prevalence of CTS and SP was higher in fibromyalgia subjects than in the general population. The scores of the questionnaires related to CTS were significantly higher in fibromyalgia subjects positive for CTS, with respect to the other subjects. In fibromyalgia, CTS and SP may be considered clinical entities in themselves, the importance of which lies in their acting as peripheral pain generators that enhance or initiate central sensitization, thereby contributing to chronic widespread pain. The amplification of pain is indeed a correctable/misguided message that occurs inside the brain of fibromyalgia subjects and identification and local treatment of pain generators would lessen the total pain burden. The magnitude of the overlap in symptoms between fibromyalgia and CTS/SP necessitates careful investigation of these conditions.