We have previously shown that fibromyalgia (FMS) patients have enhanced temporal summation (windup) and prolonged decay of heat-induced second pain in comparison to control subjects, consistent with central sensitization. It has been hypothesized that sensory abnormalities of FMS patients are related to deficient pain modulatory mechanisms. Therefore, we conducted several analyses to further characterize enhanced windup in FMS patients and to determine whether it can be centrally modulated by placebo, naloxone, or fentanyl. Pre-drug baseline ratings of FMS and normal control (NC) groups were compared with determine whether FMS had higher pain sensitivity in response to several types of thermal tests used to predominantly activate A-delta heat, C heat, or cold nociceptors. Our results confirmed and extended our earlier study in showing that FMS patients had larger magnitudes of heat tap as well as cold tap-induced windup when compared with age- and sex-matched NC subjects. The groups differed less in their ratings of sensory tests that rely predominantly on A-delta-nociceptive afferent input. Heat and cold-induced windup were attenuated by saline placebo injections and by fentanyl (0.75 and 1.5 microg/kg). However, naloxone injection had the same magnitudes of effect on first or second pain as that produced by placebo injection. Hypoalgesic effects of saline placebo and fentanyl on windup were at least as large in FMS as compared to NC subjects and therefore do not support the hypothesis that pain modulatory mechanisms are deficient in FMS. To the extent that temporal summation of second pain (windup) contributes to processes underlying hyperalgesia and persistent pain states, these results indirectly suggest that these processes can be centrally modulated in FMS patients by endogenous and exogenous analgesic manipulations.
Copyright 2002 International Association for the Study of Pain