HealthDay News — Neither sleep duration nor nightly wake times increased the predictive ability of a clinical pain model among patients with fibromyalgia, study results indicate.

“The current study confirmed that a model of aftersensation, sum of local pain areas, and negative mood is a strong predictor of clinical pain intensity in fibromyalgia,” Michael E. Robinson, PhD, director of the Center for Pain Research and Behavioral Health at the University of Florida and colleagues wrote in the Journal of Pain. “The data did not support the hypothesis that measures of sleep would increase the predictive ability of the model.”

Although previous studies have found that more than 75% of patients with fibromyalgia report disturbed sleep, the relationship between sleep and pain is still poorly understood.

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To determine whether using measures of sleep quality could improve the predictive powers of a clinical pain model in patients with fibromyalgia, Robins and colleagues measured pain and sleep variables among 74 adults with the chronic pain disorder.

Patients were asked to rate usual pain, spatial extent of pain, negative mood and pain aftersensation after experimental induction of pain. Participants’ sleep duration and nightly wake times were measured using actigraph and sleep diaries during a 14-day period.

The researchers found that increased spatial extent, elevated aftersensation ratings and increased negative mood explained 36% of the variation in clinical pain; however, none of the sleep variables were able to significantly improve pain detection.

Based on these findings, the researchers recommend a three-pronged approach to fibromyalgia pain management, which includes reducing the spatial extent of pain, normalizing central nervous system hypersensitivity and performing psychobehavioral therapies to improve negative mood.

Anderson AJ et al. J Pain. 2012;13(4):350-258.