Objective: To investigate mechanisms underlying the reduced work capacity of fibromyalgia (FM) patients were compared to healthy controls at specified workloads, using P-31 magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS).
Methods: The forearm flexor muscle group was examined with MRS at rest, at sub maximal and at maximal controlled dynamic work as well as at maximal isometric contraction. Aerobic fitness was determined by bicycle ergonometry.
Results: Metabolite concentrations and muscle pH were similar for patients and controls at lower workloads. At maximal dynamic and static contractions the concentration of inorganic phosphate was lower and at static contractions the pH decrease was smaller in patients. The performed work by patients was only 50% compared to controls and the patients experienced more pain. Maximal oxygen uptake was lower in the fibromyalgia group. Expired gas-analysis in this group showed ventilatory equivalents at similar relative levels of maximal work capacity.
Conclusion: Fibromyalgia patients seem to utilise less of the energy rich phosphorous metabolites at maximal work despite pH reduction. They seemed to be less aerobic fitted and reached the anaerobic threshold earlier than the controls.