Fibromyalgia summary

Fibromyalgia is a chronic centralised pain syndrome that affects 2-5% of the population

  • It is associated with sleep disturbance, chronic fatigue and mood disorders
  • There is a female:male incidence ratio of 2:1
  • Use the 2010 ARC diagnostic criteria
  • A stepwise approach to treatment is advised
  • Patient education is the first step and the patient needs to be an active participant
  • The aim is to reduce symptoms and increase patient function
  • There is a waxing and waning pattern to the condition
  • There is scepticism in the medical profession as to the validity of the diagnosis
  • There are measurable (research) biochemical changes in fibromyalgia
  • There is an evidence base to treatment which must be tailored to the patient’s symptoms
  • The management of fibromyalgia has 4 main components:-
    • Patient education
    • Physical therapy
    • Psychological therapy/support
    • Drug treatment
  • Be aware that long term opiates may be associated with a poorer outcome
  • Patients with fibromyalgia will need a long term relationship with their primary care physician – and this is best built on trust, mutual respect and an understanding of the condition



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