Corticomotor excitability during a noxious stimulus before and after exercise in women with fibromyalgia.

The goals of this study were to assess corticomotor excitability in people with fibromyalgia during a noxious stimulus before and following fatiguing exercise and examine associations with pain perception. Fifteen women with fibromyalgia completed three sessions: one familiarization and two experimental. The experimental sessions were randomized and involved measurement of pain perception and motor evoked potentials before and after (1) quiet rest and (2) isometric contraction of the elbow flexor muscles. Motor evoked potential amplitude of brachioradialis muscle was measured following transcranial magnetic stimulation delivered prior to, during, and following a noxious mechanical stimulus. After quiet rest, there was no change in pain perception. After the submaximal contraction, there was considerable variability in the pain response. Based on the changes in the experimental pain, subjects were divided into three groups (increase, decrease, and no change in pain). There was an interaction between pain response and the pain-induced change in motor evoked potentials. Those individuals who had an increase in motor evoked potentials during the pain test had an increase in pain after exercise. Thus, women with fibromyalgia were classified based on their pain response to exercise, and this response was associated with the change in corticomotor excitability while being subjected to of a noxious stimulus.