People who suffer from fibromyalgia, a mysterious disease characterized by chronic pain, especially in the joints, often suffer the double insult of others wondering if the disease could be all in their heads. So they might be happy to hear about a new study that found that although women who suffer from fibro report increased pain when they feel anger or sadness, that emotional aspect of their pain sensitivity isn't any stronger than that of other women. Researchers asked two groups of women (one group with fibro, one without) to recall, alternately, events that made them angry and events that made them sad, then subjected them to some kind of mild electric shock. They found that angry and sad emotions amplified the feelings of pain in both groups of women.
I imagine that it's good news for fibro patients to hear that their negative emotions don't worsen their pain any more than other women's do (since I'm sure they're so sick of the implication that their suffering is emotion-driven), but this research should be a wake up call to all women (probably men too, but the study didn't include them) to develop strategies for managing our emotions. Because though nobody is mildly torturing you with electric shocks, I hope, we all suffer a variety of little aches and minor bodily assaults every day, and the less we let ourselves get carried away by anger or sadness the less we'll suffer physically.
But if you do have fibromyalgia, or suspect that you might, there's a wealth of support online. The disease is far more common in women than in men, and often rears its head around menopause, for reasons that still aren't clear. The quickest way to learn more about the disease from patients themselves might be to go onto Twitter and search for #fibro. There seems to be a big community of women tweeting about their experiences with the disease and offering each other support.