Chronic pain in multiple sclerosis: Is there also fibromyalgia? An observational study

Alessandro Clemenzi, Alessandra Pompa, Paolo Casillo, Luca Pace, Elio Troisi, Sheila Catani, Maria Grazia Grasso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Chronic pain is common in persons with multiple sclerosis (MS), but the co-morbidity of fibromyalgia (FM) has yet to be investigated in MS. Objectives of the study were to evaluate, among the various types of chronic pain, the frequency of FM in MS and its impact on MS patients' health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Material/Methods: 133 MS patients were investigated for the presence and characterization of chronic pain within 1 month of assessment. A rheumatologist assessed the presence FM according to the 1990 ACR diagnostic criteria. Depression, fatigue, and HRQoL were also assessed by means of specific scales. Results: Chronic pain was present in 66.2% of patients (musculoskeletal in 86.3%; neuropathic in 13.7%; absent in 33.8% [called NoP]). Pain was diagnosed with FM (PFM+) in 17.3% of our MS patients, while 48.9% of them had chronic pain not FM type (PFM-); the prevalence of neuropathic pain in these 2 sub-groups was the same. PFM+ patients were prevalently females and had a higher EDSS than NoP. The PFM+ patients had a more pronounced depression than in the NoP group, and scored the worst in both physical and mental QoL. Conclusions: In our sample of MS patients we found a high prevalence of chronic pain, with those patients displaying a higher disability and a more severe depression. Moreover, FM frequency, significantly higher than that observed in the general population, was detected among the MS patients with chronic pain. FM occurrence was associated with a stronger impact on patients' QoL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)758-766
Number of pages9
JournalMedical Science Monitor
Publication statusPublished - May 9 2014


  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Quality of life - psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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