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Clin Neurophysiol. 2019 Jan;130(1):12-19. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2018.09.030. Epub 2018 Oct 31.

Fibromyalgia: Increased reactivity of the muscle membrane and a role of central regulation.

Author information

1
Roessingh Research and Development, Roessinghsbleekweg 33b, 7522 AH Enschede, The Netherlands. Electronic address: eklaver@planet.nl.
2
Department of Psychology, Health & Technology, Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences, University Twente, Drienerlolaan 5, 7522 NB Enschede, The Netherlands.
3
Roessingh Research and Development, Roessinghsbleekweg 33b, 7522 AH Enschede, The Netherlands.
4
Academic Center for Epileptology Kempenhaeghe, Sterkselseweg 65, 5591 VE Heeze, The Netherlands.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Fibromyalgia (FM) is characterized by widespread muscle pain and central neural deregulation. Previous studies showed increased muscle fiber conduction velocity (CV) in non-painful muscles of FM patients. This study investigates the relationship between central activation and the CV in FM.

METHODS:

Twenty-two females with primary FM and 21 controls underwent surface electromyography of the non-painful biceps brachii. Mean CVs were calculated from the motor unit potential velocities (CV-MUPs), and the CV-MUPs' statistical distributions were presented as histograms. The amount of muscle activity (average rectified voltage, ARV) was measured.

RESULTS:

The CV was higher in the FM-group than in the controls (P = 0.021), with CV-MUPs generally shifted to higher values, indicative of increased muscle membrane propagation speeds. The largest increase in the CV of the FM-group occurred when adopting and maintaining a limb position at only 5% of maximum strength (P < 0.001); the CV did not, as normal, increase with greater force. However, the ARV in both groups similarly increased with force.

CONCLUSIONS:

In fibromyalgia patients, the muscle membrane propagation speed increases independently of the force load or amount of muscle activity produced. When adopting a limb position, the patients show an augmented muscle membrane reaction, suggesting deregulation from higher neural centers.

SIGNIFICANCE:

These findings contribute to understanding fibromyalgia.

KEYWORDS:

Central activation; Fibromyalgia; Motor unit action potential; Muscle fiber conduction velocity; Muscle membrane; Surface electromyography

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