A comprehensive medical evaluation of patients with fibromyalgia syndrome

Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 2002 May;28(2):201-17, v-vi. doi: 10.1016/s0889-857x(01)00002-3.


Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a common and distressful condition. It is imperative that all physicians do their best to help these suffering patients with understanding and respect, since the primary responsibility of a physician is to ameliorate suffering of a patient, irrespective of the type of the disease or the illness. (The authors use the terms "disease" and "illness" synonymously, since any distinction between these two terms are really pointless because the word "disease" means lack of ease or presence of suffering.) It is clear that a physician cannot optimize management of a patient with FMS without a thorough medical and psychologic evaluation. A good evaluation helps to make a proper diagnosis, assess severity, recognize aggravating and relieving factors of symptoms, appraise psychologic factors, evaluate relevant associated or concomitant conditions, document individualized problems in a given patient, and subsequently formulate proper and individualized management. This article focuses on the major elements of a comprehensive medical evaluation, with some reference to psychologic aspects--are covered in detail in the article by Turk et al in this issue.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Fibromyalgia / diagnosis*
  • Humans