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Pain Med. 2012 Dec;13(12):1639-47. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2012.01523.x. Epub 2012 Nov 21.

Gender differences in pain severity, disability, depression, and widespread pressure pain sensitivity in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome without comorbid conditions.

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  • 1Department of Nursing and Physical Therapy, Universidad de Almeria, Almeria, Spain.



To determine the differences in pain, disability, depression, and pressure sensitivity between men and women with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), and to analyze the relationship between pain and pressure sensitivity in FMS.


A cross-sectional study.


Gender differences in pain sensitivity in individuals with FMS have not been yet clarified.


Twenty-four men (age: 52 ± 6 years) and 24 age-matched women (age: 52 ± 5 years) with FMS diagnosed according to 1990 American College of Rheumatology criteria participated.


Pressure pain thresholds (PPTs) over the 18 tender points and over the second metacarpal and tibialis anterior muscle were assessed. The intensity and duration of pain, tender point count, the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, and depression (Beck Depression Inventory-II) were calculated.


Women reported higher intensity of pain, tender point count, and depression than men (P < 0.01). Men reported a longer history of pain and disability than women (P = 0.005). Women showed bilateral lower PPT over suboccipital, cervical spine, second rib, supraspinatus, lateral epicondyle, gluteal region, and second metacarpal than men (P < 0.05). Negative associations between tender point count and PPT were found in men and women. In men, negative correlations between the intensity of ongoing pain and PPT over the cervical spine were found. No significant association between PPT and other clinical outcome was seen.


Women with FMS showed higher pain severity and lower PPT than men, whereas men exhibited longer duration of symptoms and disability. In men with FMS, the intensity of ongoing pain was positively correlated to pressure hyperalgesia over the neck. This study suggests that FMS could show a different phenotype in women and men and confirm that women exhibit lower PPT than men.

Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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