Psychological stress and fibromyalgia: a review of the evidence suggesting a neuroendocrine link

Arthritis Res Ther. 2004;6(3):98-106. doi: 10.1186/ar1176. Epub 2004 Apr 7.


The present review attempts to reconcile the dichotomy that exists in the literature in relation to fibromyalgia, in that it is considered either a somatic response to psychological stress or a distinct organically based syndrome. Specifically, the hypothesis explored is that the link between chronic stress and the subsequent development of fibromyalgia can be explained by one or more abnormalities in neuroendocrine function. There are several such abnormalities recognised that both occur as a result of chronic stress and are observed in fibromyalgia. Whether such abnormalities have an aetiologic role remains uncertain but should be testable by well-designed prospective studies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fibromyalgia / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Neurosecretory Systems / pathology*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*