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Fatigue in Fibromyalgia: a conceptual model informed by patient interviews

Monday 11 October 2010

BMC Musculoskeletal DisordersFrom BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders:

Fatigue in fibromyalgia: a conceptual model informed by patient interviews

Louise Humphrey1 emailRob Arbuckle1 emailPhilip Mease2 emailDavid A Williams3 emailBente Danneskiold Samsoe4 email and Claire Gilbert5 email

1 Mapi Values, Adelphi Mill, Bollington, Macclesfield Cheshire SK10 5JB, UK
2 Seattle Rheumatology Associates, Seattle, Washington, USA
3 Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center, University of Michigan, 24 Frank Lloyd Wright Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48106, USA
4 The Parker Institute, Frederiksberg Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital, Nordre Fasanvej 57, DK-2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark
5 Pfizer Ltd, Sandwich, Kent, CT13 9NJ, UK

 author email
 corresponding author email

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2010, 11:216doi:10.1186/1471-2474-11-216

Published: 20 September 2010

Abstract

Background

Fatigue is increasingly recognized as an important symptom in fibromyalgia (FM). Unknown however is how fatigue is experienced by individuals in the context of FM. We conducted qualitative research in order to better understand aspects of fatigue that might be unique to FM as well as the impact it has on patients' lives. The data obtained informed the development of a conceptual model of fatigue in FM.

Methods

Open-ended interviews were conducted with 40 individuals with FM (US [n = 20], Germany [n = 10] and France [n = 10]). Transcripts were analyzed using qualitative methods based upon grounded theory to identify key themes and concepts.

Results

Participants were mostly female (70%) with a mean age of 48.7 years (range: 25-79). Thirty-one individuals (i.e., 77.5%) spontaneously described experiencing tiredness/lack of energy/fatigue due to FM. Participants discussed FM fatigue as being more severe, constant/persistent and unpredictable than normal tiredness. The conceptual model depicts the key elements of fatigue in FM from a patient perspective. This includes: an overwhelming feeling of tiredness (n = 17, 42.5%), not relieved by resting/sleeping (n = 15, 37.5%), not proportional to effort exerted (n = 25, 62.5%), associated with a feeling of weakness/heaviness (n = 20, 50%), interferes with motivation (n = 22, 55%), interferes with desired activities (n = 27, 67.5%), prolongs tasks (n = 15, 37.5%), and makes it difficult to concentrate (n = 21, 52.5%), think clearly (n = 12, 30%) or remember things (n = 9, 22.5%).

Conclusion

The majority of individuals with FM who participated in this study experience fatigue and describe it as more severe than normal tiredness.

The above originally appeared here.

 


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