Common questions about the diagnosis and management of fibromyalgia.Am Fam Physician 2015; 91(7):472-8AF
Fibromyalgia has a distinct pathophysiology involving central amplification of peripheral sensory signals. Core symptoms are chronic widespread pain, fatigue, and sleep disturbance. Most patients with fibromyalgia have muscle pain and tenderness, forgetfulness or problems concentrating, and significant functional limitations. Fibromyalgia is diagnosed using an updated set of clinical criteria that no longer depend on tender point examination; laboratory testing may rule out other disorders that commonly present with fatigue, such as anemia and thyroid disease. Patients with fibromyalgia should be evaluated for comorbid functional pain syndromes and mood disorders. Management of fibromyalgia should include patient education, symptom relief, and regular aerobic physical activity. Serotoninnorepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, antiepileptics, and muscle relaxants have the strongest evidence of benefit for improving pain, fatigue, sleep symptoms, and quality of life. Multiple complementary and alternative medicine therapies have been used but have limited evidence of effectiveness. Opioids should be used to relieve pain in carefully selected patients only if alternative therapies are ineffective.