Fibromyalgia, Brush Allodynia in

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This is the finding that fibromyalgia patients often experience that innocuous brushing of their skin will induce pain. Brushing the skin stimulates mechano-receptors. Fallon et al. studied this by brushing patients on their right forearm and found that 13 of 18 had pain during brushing. They also found event related desynchronization (ERD) during brushing in electrodes over the right central parietal region in patients only. The ERD in patients affected the beta band which correlated with the patients manual tender point scale. [This presumably means that the more tender points they had the more event related desynchronization they had. If this is the case, then it suggests that tender point scores are an indicator of severity.] (See: Ipsilateral cortical activation in fibromyalgia patients during brushing correlates with symptom severity. Fallon N et al., Clin Neurophysiol. 2013 Jan;124(1):154-63.)

[Author’s comment: Thirteen of 18 is a large percentage. One implication of this paper is that it seems worthwhile to integrate brush testing of the arm into the basic physical exam of all suspected fibromyalgia patients. Interested parties should obtain the original article to see which brush they used and how they stroked with it. A second implication is that Fallon et al.’s technique may be useful an objective diagnostic test for those patients with fibromyalgia that have brush allodynia.]