(221) Associations between post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms and mental health in fibromyalgia

      Research suggests that many patients who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) frequently also have fibromyalgia and vice versa. Patients with PTSD with concurrent fibromyalgia reported more pain, greater tenderness, lower quality of life, greater functional impairment, and more psychological distress as compared to patients with PTSD without concurrent fibromyalgia. However, it is unknown how PTSD may contribute to the mental health impairment in fibromyalgia. The purpose of this study was to evaluate symptoms of PTSD in patients with fibromyalgia and determine if PTSD symptoms could mediate differences in mental health between patients with fibromyalgia and healthy controls. Thirty patients and 30 healthy controls completed questionnaires assessing anxiety, depression, affect, and symptoms of PTSD. Multiple regression was used to assess the association between group (fibromyalgia versus healthy control) and mental health symptoms while controlling confounding influences of age and BMI and considering the mediating effect of trauma symptoms. On average, patients with fibromyalgia were 47.0 years of age (SD 10.4), white (96.7%) and non-Hispanic (100%). As expected, patients with fibromyalgia had poorer mental health than healthy controls. Patient-control differences in mental health were fully or partially mediated by differences in PTSD symptoms. Patients with fibromyalgia differed most greatly from healthy controls on the arousal subscale of trauma symptoms. This high degree of arousal symptoms might suggest that central sensitization may bear some relevance to understanding fibromyalgia and PTSD connections. Clinicians who care for patients with fibromyalgia should be aware of the role of trauma as management of trauma symptoms may be one strategy for improving mental health.