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Psychobiological responses in women with regional or widespread musculoskeletal pain conditions
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2012 (English)In: International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, ISSN 1070-5503, E-ISSN 1532-7558, Vol. 19, no Issue 1 Supplement, 120-121 p.Article in journal, Meeting abstract (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are very common. Regional chronic shoulder and neck pain (SNP) and widespread chronic pain due to fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) are examples of MSDs characterized by altered physiology of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The aims of the present study is to compare the cortisol awakening response (CAR) in SNP women, FMS patients and healthy controls, and to compare salivary cortisol levels, urinary catecholamine levels (adrenaline, noradrenaline, and dopamine), and cardiovascular responses in FMS patients and healthy controls. Self-ratings of sleep, anxiety, perceived stress, and pain were also investigated. CAR tended to be higher in SNP women than in healthy controls, whereas it was significantly higher than in FMS patients. Moreover, CAR was significantly lower in FMS patients than in healthy controls. Cortisol levels were lower in FMS patients than in healthy controls during the rest of the day as well. In addition, adrenaline and dopamine (but not noradrenaline) levels were significantly lower in FMS patients than in healthy controls. Resting heart rate was significantly higher in FMS patients than in healthy controls, but no differences emerged during stress provocation or unconstrained daily activities. Finally, SNP women and FMS patients reported more pain and health complaints than did healthy controls, but SNP women were less affected. Potential confounders (e.g., age, obesity, smoking habit, employment fraction, sleeping problems, and physical exercise) had no effects on the findings. Taken together, the findings show altered ANS and HPA axis regulation in FMS patients. Specifically, the hyperactive HPA axis found in SNP women (i.e., higher cortisol levels) might constitute a preliminary stage of a hypoactive HPA axis in FMS patients (i.e., lower cortisol levels). In view of this, an altered regulation of the HPA axis in the progression from regional to widespread MSDs may follow a temporal development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 19, no Issue 1 Supplement, 120-121 p.
Keyword [en]
cortisol, musculoskeletal disorders, psychoneuroendocrinology, stress
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Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-85657DOI: 10.1007/s12529-012-9247-0OAI: diva2:584193
12th International Congress of Behavioral Medicine (ICBM), Budapest, Hungary, August 29th - September 1st, 2012

This research formed part of Rivas thesis work under the supervision of Emeritus Professor Ulf Lundberg and Associate Professor Petra Lindfors. The research was supported by grants to Professor Ulf Lundberg from the Swedish Research Council and the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research.

Available from: 2013-01-08 Created: 2013-01-08 Last updated: 2013-02-18Bibliographically approved

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