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Long-term sick-leavers with fibromyalgia: Comparing their multidisciplinarily assessed characteristics with those  of others with chronic pain conditions and depression

Authors Linder J, Schuldt-Ekholm K, Lundh G, Ekholm J

Published 21 January 2009 Volume 2009:2 Pages 23—37


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 5

Jürgen Linder1, Kristina Schüldt Ekholm2,3,4, Göran Lundh1, Jan Ekholm2,3

1Diagnostic Centre, Division of Psychiatry, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; 2Division of Rehabilitation Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Danderyd Hospital, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; 3Stockholm University Rehabilitation Medicine Clinic, Danderyd Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden; 4Division of Rehabilitation Science, Department of Health Science, Mid-Sweden University, Campus Östersund, Sweden

Objective: The aim was to gain knowledge of fibromyalgia (FM) patients on long-term sick leave and with particular difficulties in resuming work, and to compare them with patients with myalgia, back or joint diagnoses, and depression.

Methods: Patients were identified by and referred from social insurance offices and were multidisciplinarily examined by three board-certified specialists in psychiatry, orthopedic surgery and rehabilitation medicine. Ninety-two women were diagnosed with FM only. Three female comparison groups were chosen: depression, back/joint diagnoses, and myalgia.

Results and conclusions: Ceaseless pain was reported by 73% of FM patients, 54% of back/joint diagnoses patients, 43% of myalgia patients, and 35% of depression patients. The distribution of pain (>50%) in FM patients was to almost all regions of the body, and in depression patients to the lower dorsal neck, upper shoulders and lumbosacral back but not in the anterior body. Reduced sleep was more evident in FM patients. FM patients did not meet more criteria for personality disorder than patients with the other somatic pain conditions. The most common dimension of “personality traits” of somatic pain conditions was the “obsessive compulsive” but at a level clearly below that indicating a personality disorder. More FM patients experienced disabilities, the most common being in the mobility and domestic-life areas.

Keywords: fibromyalgia, long-term sick-leave, multidisciplinary assessment, depression, chronic pain conditions, disability, pain distribution

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