This review focuses on studies of the sympathetic nervous system in fibromyalgia (FM). First, a brief review of the sympathetic system, and its relationship to the human stress response, is outlined. Then various studies of functional assessment of sympathetic function in FM are highlighted. Certain methods of assessment (eg, heart rate variability, biochemical, and psychophysical responses to various stressors) that we believe to be of specific importance for future research are discussed in greater detail. Finally, findings on autonomic function in related disorders--specifically, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, and migraine--will be briefly presented.