Fibromyalgia is a controversial and often misunderstood chronic pain disorder. It is defined as widespread pain of a least 3 months’ duration and pain on applying pressure to 11 of 18 specific muscle-tendon sites. Progress in research has finally identified fibromyalgia as one of the central pain syndromes, characterized primarily by altered pain processing.
Prevalence and burden of disease
Fibromyalgia occurs in about 1%-3% of the general population. It develops more often in females and is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and tenderness, accompanied by many other distressing features. Pain, fatigue and sleep disturbances are some of the more common symptoms experienced by people with fibromyalgia. Several studies have show patients with fibromyalgia suffer significant disability and reduced quality of life. Fibromyalgia affects physical mobility, overall mood, concentration and memory. Diagnosis and management
In clinical practice, the lack of objective findings on physical examination, laboratory tests or imaging studies makes diagnosing fibromyalgia difficult for physicians. In additional, fibromyalgia shares many symptoms with other commonly occurring chronic pain conditions. Fibromyalgia involves neurobiological and behavioral factors that contribute to functional decline. The development of fibromyalgia seems to involve genetics, female sex, environmental influences (such as trauma, infection, emotional stress and autoimmune disorders), neuroendocrine and autonomic dysregulation, pain processing aberrations, and behavioral and psychological factors.