THURSDAY, Feb. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Daily electronic records of symptoms can help fibromyalgia patients and their doctors better understand the condition, a new study shows.

Researchers gave 81 women with fibromyalgia a personal digital assistant (PDA) device. The patients used their PDA to report pain, sleep problems, emotional distress and other issues three times a day for 30 days.

The researchers at the University of Utah and University of Washington believed that this ability to immediately report symptoms would prove more effective than asking patients to recall symptoms at their periodic visits with their doctors.

The study is published in the January issue of The Journal of Pain.

The results showed that being able to analyze several measures of multiple symptoms over time can help clarify relationships among symptoms, the researchers said in a news release from the American Pain Society. For example, the records kept by patients in this study showed that: previous pain is a significant predictor of both fatigue and emotional distress; prior worsening of fatigue predicts current increased pain; and a previous rise in emotional distress predicts current fatigue.

More information

The U.S. National Women's Health Information Center has more about fibromyalgia.