Objective: To investigate whether associations between pain and the additional symptoms associated with fibromyalgia are different in persons with chronic widespread pain (CWP) compared to multisite pain (MSP), with or without joint areas. Methods: Six studies were used: 1958 British birth cohort, Epidemiology of Functional Disorders, Kid Low Back Pain, Managing Unexplained Symptoms (Chronic Widespread Pain) in Primary Care: Involving Traditional and Accessible New Approaches, Study of Health and its Management, and Women's Health Study (WHEST; females). MSP was defined as the presence of pain in ≥8 body sites in adults (≥10 sites in children) indicated on 4-view body manikins, conducted first to include joints (positive joints) and second without (negative joints). The relationship between pain and fatigue, sleep disturbance, somatic symptoms, and mood impairment was assessed using logistic regression. Results are presented as odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs). Results: There were 34,818 participants across the study populations (adults age range 42-56 years, male 43-51% [excluding WHEST], and CWP prevalence 12-17%). Among those reporting MSP, the proportion reporting CWP ranged between 62% and 76%. Among those reporting the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia, there was an increased likelihood of reporting pain, the magnitude of which was similar regardless of the definition used. For example, within WHEST, reporting moderate/severe fatigue (Chalder fatigue scale 4-11) was associated with a >5-fold increase in likelihood of reporting pain (CWP OR 5.2 [95% CI 3.9-6.9], MSP-positive joints OR 6.5 [95% CI 5.0-8.6], and MSP-negative joints OR 6.5 [95% CI 4.7-9.0]). Conclusion: This large-scale study demonstrates that regardless of the pain definition used, the magnitude of association between pain and other associated symptoms of fibromyalgia is similar. This finding supports the continued collection of both when classifying fibromyalgia, but highlights the fact that pain may not require to follow the definition outlined within the 1990 American College of Rheumatology criteria.
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