Study of Chronic pain and Fibromyalgia

Information on our Fibromyalgia study, for prospective participants

This is a study using MRI to investigate how neural signaling related to pain is altered in people with fibromyalgia (FM), compared to people without FM. The purpose is to improve our understanding of how/why people with FM have chronic pain and heightened pain sensitivity. We will also investigate how, or if, fibromyalgia is different between men and women. 

This study will involve men and women who have FM, or have the symptoms of FM, or who are healthy and have no signs/symptoms of FM. Participants must be 19 to 60 years old, with no history of neurological injury or disease, other than effects related to FM (such as no previous serious injury involving the brain or spinal cord etc.). This study involves one visit to Queen's University. The first part of the visit will be to familiarize the participant with the heat pain that will be applied to the right hand, and to adjust the temperature for each participant's sensitivity. The pain will be adjusted to be tolerable for each person. We will have each participant fill in a questionnaire about themselves, including any history of mental illness, and general MRI safety procedures. We will also familiarize the participant with using a scale for rating their pain, and with the study procedures. The participant will also experience the MRI environment in a "sham" MRI system so that they know what to expect during imaging. The second part of the visit will be in the actual MRI system. The participant will be positioned lying on their back inside the MRI system, with a mirror to view a rating scale and instructions during each imaging run.  During each imaging run we will take images of the spinal cord and brainstem repeatedly over time. During imaging, the participant will sometimes feel the heat pain on their right hand, and other times they will feel a different pain stimulus, or just warm stimulus, or nothing at all, depending on the part of the study being carried out. Participants will always be told what to expect. The total visit will take about 2 hours.  Participants with chronic pain will be given an honorarium of $60 and participants without chronic pain will be given an honorarium of $40 to cover their time and expenses.

The study is currently in progress. If you are interested in participating please email .

Here is a a video with some information about participating in MRI studies: Information Video