Luther junior researches fibromyalgia

June 27, 2018

Roughly five million Americans live with fibromyalgia, a chronic disease with no standard treatment or cure that involves musculoskeletal pain. Shannon Lunn, Luther College junior of Farmington, Minnesota, is exploring experiences men have with fibromyalgia for her summer research project.

Lunn, the daughter of Lonny and Margaret Lunn of Farmington, is a 2016 graduate of Rosemount High School. She is majoring in nursing at Luther.

Lunn is working with Angela Kueny, Luther associate professor of nursing, on her project “Male Experiences with Fibromyalgia: A Focus Group Comparative Study.” Other contributors include Loren Toussaint, Luther professor of psychology; Pilar Montesó-Curto, nursing professor from Rovira i Virgili University in Spain; and the Mayo Clinic Fibromyalgia Clinic.

It is most prevalent in women, with an estimated 75-90 percent of cases occurring in women. Because women typically are affected by fibromyalgia more often than men, men tend to be underrepresented both in research and treatment. Working with Rochester’s Mayo Fibromyalgia Clinic, Lunn will hold focus groups with 10 current male fibromyalgia sufferers in an attempt to learn more about the symptoms. Lunn will compare her findings to a focus group that was held in Spain for cross-cultural considerations of fibromyalgia experiences.

“The most interesting part of the research has been learning about the impact that fibromyalgia has on the everyday lives of those living with it, especially with regard to the psychological implications such as feeling isolated and stigmatized. Delving into the research has been interesting because it has allowed me to develop a better idea of what each person living with fibromyalgia is going through; it makes me heartbroken for those living with such a debilitating condition that has no standard treatment or cure. My hope is that this project will better myself as a nurse by expanding my knowledge and enhancing my ability to speak empathetically with those experiencing pain,” said Lunn.

Lunn and Kueny’s collaboration is one of 30 summer student-faculty research projects funded through Luther’s College Scholars Program and Dean’s Office. The Student-Faculty Summer Research projects provide students an opportunity to research topics of interest alongside Luther faculty. This program is one of a wide selection of experiential learning opportunities that are part of Luther’s academic core and intend to deepen the learning process.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,050, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college’s website: