Individuals with pain report higher sensory disturbances during sensorimotor conflicts compared to pain-free individuals. In the pain field, it is frequently assumed that disturbances arise from a discordance between sensory and efference copies (defined as sensory-motor conflict), while in the sensorimotor control field they are considered to result from the incongruence between sensory modalities (defined as sensory-sensory conflict). The general aim of this study was to disentangle the relative contribution of motor efferences and sensory afferences to the increased sensitivity to sensorimotor conflicts in individual with fibromyalgia (n=20) compared to controls (n=20). We assessed sensory and motor disturbances during sensory-sensory and sensory-motor conflicts using a robotized exoskeleton interfaced with a 2D virtual environment. There was a significant interaction between the group and the type of conflict (p=0.03). Moreover, the increase in conflict sensitivity from sensory-sensory to sensory-motor conflicts in fibromyalgia was related to conflict-induced motor disturbances (r=0.57; p<0.01), but did not result from a poorer proprioception (r=0.12; p=0.61). Therefore, it appears that higher conflict sensitivity in fibromyalgia is mainly explained by a sensory-motor conflict rather by a sensory-sensory conflict. We suggest this arises due to a deficit in updating predicted sensory feedback rather than in selecting appropriate motor commands.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd.