The effects of local cold application on fibromyalgia pain

Int J Rheum Dis. 2017 Aug;20(8):929-934. doi: 10.1111/1756-185X.13078. Epub 2017 Apr 17.


Aim: This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of local cold application on pain when applied to the trapezius muscles of patients with fibromyalgia.

Method: A one-group, pre-test/post-test, pre-experimental model was applied in this study, which was conducted with 55 fibromyalgia patients who presented to a rheumatology outpatient clinic. A 10-min cold application was administered to one trapezius muscle of each patient. The participants' pain was evaluated, in total, four times (before the cold application and 10 min, 1.5 h and 24 h after the cold application). The visual analogue scale (VAS) for pain was used to collect data for the study, and Friedman and Wilcoxon tests were used to assess the data.

Results: The patients' pain mean score before (6.45, SD:1.27) the cold applications was found to be significantly higher than the scores noted 10 min (2.75, SD:1.73), 1.5 h (2.45, SD:1.29), and 24 h (3.36, SD:1.30) after the application (P < 0.001).

Conclusion: The study found that local cold applications performed on the trapezius muscles of patients with fibromyalgia significantly decreased their pain. With its discovery of a new method of pain control in fibromyalgia patients, this study will significantly contribute to science and will serve as a guide for pain management, especially in nursing practice. Further studies to evaluate the maximum effect duration and effect mechanisms of local cold applications to the trapezius muscles of FM patients are indicated.

Keywords: cold application; fibromyalgia; pain; trapezius muscle.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cryotherapy / adverse effects
  • Cryotherapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / diagnosis
  • Fibromyalgia / physiopathology
  • Fibromyalgia / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / diagnosis
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / physiopathology
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / therapy*
  • Pain Management / adverse effects
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain Threshold
  • Pilot Projects
  • Superficial Back Muscles / physiopathology*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome