Presentation: Patients with Fibromyalgia Have Greater Difficulty Coping with Their Illness than Patients with Other Rheumatic Diseases (2007)

1534 Patients with Fibromyalgia Have Greater Difficulty Coping with Their Illness than Patients with Other Rheumatic Diseases

PURPOSE: To determine whether patients with fibromyalgia (FMS) have more difficulty coping with their illness than patients with other rheumatic diseases.
METHODS: 110 rheumatic disease patients completed a 13-item pain coping scale, and 100 also completed 2 visual analog scales that rated how well they dealt with their pain and fatigue: 50 patients with FMS, 22 with rheumatoid arthritis, 13 with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), 9 with regional musculoskeletal pain, 7 with osteoarthritis, and 9 with other inflammatory rheumatic diseases. The nonparametric Mann-Whitney test was carried out to compare FMS and Non-FMS rheumatic disease patients with respect to their coping methods. A 0.05 significance level was used.
RESULTS: The sample was 96% female with a mean age of 51 + 12. No statistically significant differences were found between any of the non-FMS disease groups with respect to how well patients cope with pain and fatigue. However, patients with FMS had significantly lower ratings of their ability to cope with their pain and fatigue than the non-FMS group (p < 0.001). Compared to the Non-FMS group, FMS patients also reported significantly worse ratings for 11 of the 13 visual analog scales: worrying about whether their pain will end, thinking their pain is never going to get better, anxiously wanting the pain to go away, thinking about how much their pain hurts, thinking about how badly they want the pain to stop, not being able to stop thinking about their pain, and feeling overwhelmed, unable to go on, fearful the pain will get worse, unable to reduce their pain intensity, and unable to stand their pain (p < 0.042).
CONCLUSIONS: FMS patients report much more difficulty coping with the pain and fatigue of their illness than patients with other rheumatic diseases. Further research is needed to determine whether the intensity of symptoms overwhelms FMS patients or their coping skills are deficient or both. In either case, FMS patients need family and professional assistance to help cope with their illness. Cognitive therapy and other types of psychological support, in addition to physician and nurse empathy and family understanding, could help FMS patients contend better with their illness.

 R.S. Katz, None; S. Shott, None; N. Helmke, None; A. Small, None; B. Small, None; R. Moss, None.