Review Sections

Fibromyalgia Icon    Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a common condition of uncertain etiology. It is characterized by widespread muscular pain, sleep disturbances, fatigue and presence of widespread tender points. Prevalence is estimated to be 3.4% for women and 0.5% for men (1). Treatment interventions are limited to essentially palliative care.

(1) Millea PJ, Holloway RL. Treating fibromyalgia. Am Fam Physician 2000; 62(7):1575-82, 1587.

Clinical Reviews

Fibromyalgia: Prevention

Fibromyalgia is a condition of unknown etiology. Several theories as to etiology of FM have been proposed but none have been validated. Two of the more accepted theories are sensitization of the central nervous system and dysfunction of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Consequently rather that providing prevention strategies based on etiology one must look at demographics to identify factors that co-exist or pre-existed in individuals with diagnosed fibromyalgia that may contribute to the condition. Using this information may aid the physician in developing strategies for reducing occurrence of fibromyalgia or at least reducing symptomology in the fibromyalgia patient.

Fibromyalgia: Diagnosis

On initial examination fibromyalgia appears to be a relatively straight forward diagnostic procedure. The patient presents with spontaneous, widespread soft tissue pain, sleep disturbances, fatigue and widely distributed tender points evaluated by procedures developed by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). Although diagnosis may seem rather simple it can be, in fact, challenging. A recent paper found only 34% of patients diagnosed with FM received an accurate diagnosis. Hypothyroidism, drug-induced myopathies (often associated with statins, lipid-lowering drugs), myofascial pain syndrome, lupus and other rheumatic conditions can mimic fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia: Therapy

Treatment of FM is indeed difficult. It is a condition that is poorly understood, over-diagnosed and often improperly treated. Whether it even exists as a separate entity has been questioned in the literature, Unfortunately our lack of understanding of the condition does not release us from the responsibility of striving to help those afflicted with the physical signs of FM. Often the treatment of FM must go beyond muscle pain as fatigue, anxiety, depression and sleep disorders are often present in FM patients. Another complicating factor is the common co-morbidities of headache, bruxism, irritable bowel syndrome and cognitive defect, just to name a few. A review of the literature provides some guidance in conservative and medical treatment that can be effective in lessening the symptoms. Often the physician must utilize a multi-disciplinary approach as well as move from one treatment option to another in order to find an approach with acceptable results.

Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) Information

MeSH Term: Fibromyalgia

Scope Note: A common nonarticular rheumatic syndrome characterized by myalgia and multiple points of focal muscle tenderness to palpation (trigger points). Muscle pain is typically aggravated by inactivity or exposure to cold. This condition is often associated with general symptoms, such as sleep disturbances, fatigue, stiffness, HEADACHES, and occasionally DEPRESSION. There is significant overlap between fibromyalgia and the chronic fatigue syndrome (FATIGUE SYNDROME, CHRONIC). Fibromyalgia may arise as a primary or secondary disease process. It is most frequent in females aged 20 to 50 years. (From Adams et al., Principles of Neurology, 6th ed, p1494-95)

MeSH Synonyms:
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Fibromyalgias
  • Fibromyalgia-Fibromyositis Syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia Fibromyositis Syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia-Fibromyositis Syndromes
  • Syndrome, Fibromyalgia-Fibromyositis
  • Syndromes, Fibromyalgia-Fibromyositis
  • Rheumatism, Muscular
  • Muscular Rheumatism
  • Fibrositis
  • Fibrositides
  • Myofascial Pain Syndrome, Diffuse
  • Diffuse Myofascial Pain Syndrome
  • Fibromyositis-Fibromyalgia Syndrome
  • Fibromyositis Fibromyalgia Syndrome
  • Fibromyositis-Fibromyalgia Syndromes
  • Syndrome, Fibromyositis-Fibromyalgia
  • Syndromes, Fibromyositis-Fibromyalgia
  • Fibromyalgia, Secondary
  • Fibromyalgias, Secondary
  • Secondary Fibromyalgia
  • Secondary Fibromyalgias
  • Fibromyalgia, Primary
  • Fibromyalgias, Primary
  • Primary Fibromyalgia
  • Primary Fibromyalgias
Applicable MeSH Subheadings:
  • analysis
  • anatomy and histology
  • blood
  • cerebrospinal fluid
  • chemically induced
  • classification
  • complications
  • congenital
  • diagnosis
  • diagnostic imaging
  • diet therapy
  • drug therapy
  • economics
  • enzymology
  • epidemiology
  • ethnology
  • etiology
  • genetics
  • history
  • immunology
  • metabolism
  • microbiology
  • mortality
  • nursing
  • organization and administration
  • pathology
  • physiology
  • physiopathology
  • prevention and control
  • psychology
  • radiotherapy
  • rehabilitation
  • statistics and numerical data
  • surgery
  • therapy
  • urine
  • veterinary
  • virology
See Related MeSH Terms:

Informative Links

Arrow Fibromyalgia Information

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MedlinePlus: Fibromyalgia

MedlinePlus will direct you to information to help answer health questions. MedlinePlus brings together authoritative information from NLM, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other government agencies and health-related organizations.

Current Clinical Trials Relating to  Fibromyalgia Provides patients, family members, and members of the public easy and free access to information on clinical studies for a wide range of diseases and conditions.


Prevalence of Fibromyalgia in Israel

(Status: Unknown status)


Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia

(Status: Unknown status)


Yoga for Fibromyalgia

(Status: Completed)


Cross-sectional Study of Fibromyalgia

(Status: Active, not recruiting)


Fibromyalgia Acupuncture Study

(Status: Completed)


Exercise, Acupuncture and Fibromyalgia

(Status: Unknown status)


Cupping in Fibromyalgia

(Status: Completed)

100 Clinical Trials Returned