Implications of proposed fibromyalgia criteria across other functional pain syndromes

Scand J Rheumatol. 2015;44(5):416-24. doi: 10.3109/03009742.2015.1010103. Epub 2015 Jun 16.


Objectives: In 2010, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) proposed new criteria for the diagnosis of fibromyalgia (FM) in the context of objections to components of the criteria of 1990. The new criteria consider the Widespread Pain Index (WPI) and the Symptom Severity Score (SSS). This study evaluated the implications of the new diagnostic criteria for FM across other functional pain syndromes.

Method: A cohort of 300 consecutive in-patients with functional pain syndromes underwent a diagnostic screen according to the ACR 2010 criteria. Additionally, systematic pain assessment including algometric and psychometric data was carried out.

Results: Twenty-five patients (8.3%) had been diagnosed with FM according to the ACR 1990 criteria. Twenty-one of them (84%) also met the new ACR 2010 criteria. In total, 130 patients (43%) fulfilled the new ACR 2010 criteria. A comparison of new vs. old cases showed a high degree of conformity in most of the pain characteristics. The new FM cases, however, revealed a pronounced heterogeneity in the anatomical pain locations, including several types of localized pain syndromes. Furthermore, patients fulfilling the ACR 2010 FM criteria differed from those with other functional pain syndromes; they had increased pain sensitivity scores and increased psychometric values for depression, anxiety, and psychological distress (p<0.01).

Conclusions: FM according to the ACR 2010 criteria describes the 'severe half' of the spectrum of functional pain syndromes. By dropping the requirement of 'generalized pain', these criteria result in a blurring of the distinction between FM and more localized functional pain syndromes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / classification*
  • Fibromyalgia / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / classification*
  • Pain / diagnosis*
  • Pain Measurement / methods*
  • Patient Selection*
  • Psychometrics
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Syndrome