Chronic pain often disrupts the correct functioning of the Autonomic Nervous System.

Chronic widespread pain (CWP) with reference to Fibromyalgia is indicated by:

– pain lasting more than 3 months, above and below the waist, on the right and left sides of the body and in the middle skeleton.

CWP is one of the most common reasons for referral to a rheumatologist and / or physiotherapist.

Chronic pain that is left unmanaged can affect the individual’s social interactions and life.

There are many treatment of options available which include pharmacologic and physiotherapy interventions.

What is important though is to understand that prevention is often better than cure. And idenitfying contributing risk factors help facilitate a healthier lifestyle and a more personalised treatment programme.

One of these risk factors for CWP is dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system (ANS).

Evidence points towards an association between dysfunction of the ANS and CWP. A disruption of the ANS includes increased sympathetic and/or decreased parasympathetic tone.

This is a crucial role in initiating and perpetuating central sensitization. Basically, central sensitisation predisposes individuals to the development of chronic pain in response to trigger or traumatic

Lower parasympathetic activity was found to be associated with higher pain intensity in subjects with CWP.

This pattern of results suggest that intense pain is a chronic stressor that interferes
with parasympathetic activities.