Newsletter excerpts: 10 New Studies on Chronic Pain--December 2020

Posted by: Michelle Burns
Date Posted: December 3, 2020

Here is some of the information I recently shared in a December newsletter. Each newsletter has a specific focus.  This newsletter is focused on chronic pain and fibromyalgia. If you would be interested in receiving my newsletters, please head over to my contact page and sign up.


  1. Fibromyalgia linked to gut bacteria
  2. Relationship between serum magnesium, inflammation and chronic pain
  3. Effectiveness of low-pressure hyperbaric oxygen and physical exercise in fibromyalgia
  4. Aquatic therapy versus land-based therapy in reducing pain in fibromyalgia
  5. Association between low vitamin D levels and impact of fibromyalgia
  6. Pressure-induced referred pain a biomarker of pain sensitivity
  7. Manual therapy versus therapeutic exercise
  8. Hypnotic intervention in people with fibromyalgia
  9. Impact of animal-assisted activity session
  10. Intramuscular pressure is almost three times higher in fibromyalgia


1. An article, titled Fibromyalgia Linked to Gut Bacteria for First Time published in Neuroscience News & Research in Jun 2019, states: In a paper published today in the journal Pain, a Montreal-based research team has shown, for the first time, that there are alterations in the bacteria in the gastrointestinal tracts of people with fibromyalgia.

2.  A study, titled Exploring the relationship between serum magnesium, inflammation, and chronic pain in a Vermont primary care population, published in Current Developments in Nutrition Jun 2020, concludes: For adults seen in primary care, lower serum magnesium levels are associated with chronic pain. This inverse relationship is not explained by random noise, including age and gender. The complex relationship between serum magnesium, C-reactive protein, and pain is complex and requires further exploration. 

3. A study titled Comparative study of the effectiveness of a low-pressure hyperbaric oxygen treatment and physical exercise in women with fibromyalgia: randomized clinical trial, published in Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Disease in 2020 concludes: low-pressure hyperbaric oxygen therapy and physical exercise improve pressure pain threshold, endurance and functional capacity, as well as physical performance. Induced fatigue and perceived pain at rest significantly improved only with low-pressure hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

4. An abstract of a study titled Is aquatic therapy more effective than land-based therapy in reducing pain of women with fibromyalgia? published in Ann Rheum Dis in 2020 concludes:  Both physiotherapy interventions showed to be effective in reducing pain in patients with fibromyalgia. However, aquatic therapy was more effective in improving quality of sleep and decreasing pain intensity at six weeks of follow-up than land-based therapy. It seems that the therapeutic effects achieved in post-treatment were maintained for a longer time in the aquatic therapy group. Even so, in order to maintain the benefits obtained with the interventions, continuous physiotherapy treatment seems to be necessary.

5. A study titled Association between low vitamin D levels and the Greater impact of fibromyalgia, published in J Clinical Med Res in 2020 concludes: Fibromyalgia patients did not present higher prevalence of vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency than healthy individuals, although low vitamin D concentrations could indicate more severe disease impacts.

6. A study titled Pressure-induced referred pain as a biomarker of pain sensitivity in fibromyalgia, published in Pain Physician in Jul 2020 concludes: referred pain induced by applying a suprathreshold pressure of 120% Pain Pressure Threshold can be a useful biomarker to assess sensitized pain mechanisms in patients suffering from Fibromyalgia.

7. A study titled Manual therapy versus therapeutic exercise in non-specific chronic neck pain: a randomized controlled trial, published in Trials in Jul 2020 concludes: manual therapy achieves a faster reduction in pain perception than therapeutic exercise. Therapeutic exercise reduces disability faster than manual therapy.

8. A study titled Hypnotic intervention in people with fibromyalgia: a randomized controlled trial, published in American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis in Aug 2020 concludes: the self-administered audio-recorded hypnotic intervention significantly decreased the intensity and interference of pain and fatigue, as well as the depressive symptomatology.

9. A study title The Impact of a 20-minute animal-assisted activity session on the physiological and emotional states in patients with fibromyalgia, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings in Nov 2020 showed a decrease in heart rate, an increase in heart rate variability, an increase in well-being survey scores, an increase in salivary oxytocin, and subsequent tympanic membrane temperature changes, suggesting that participants were in a more positive emotional-physiologic state as a result of the session. 

10. A study titled Intramuscular Pressure is almost three times higher in fibromyalgia patients: a possible mechanism for understanding the muscle pain and tenderness, published in J Rheum in Dec 2020 concludes; pressure in the trapezius muscle of patients with Fibromyalgia is remarkably elevated and may be an intrinsic feature of FMS that could be monitored as part of the diagnostic evaluation. The burden of the pressure abnormality may help explain the diffuse muscle pain of FMS. Therefore, FMS as a disorder of exclusively central pain processing should be revisited. Therapeutically, the reduction of muscle pressure may change the clinical picture significantly.

What Hurting Looks Like: Photographer Translates Pain Into Visceral Still Life  provides visual and verbal descriptions of pain. Originally published on NPR

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