Fibromyalgia is a disorder that is part of a spectrum of syndromes that lack precise classification. It is often considered as part of the global overview of functional somatic syndromes that are otherwise medically unexplained or part of a somatization disorder. Patients with fibromyalgia share symptoms with other functional somatic problems, including issues of myalgias, arthralgias, fatigue and sleep disturbances. Indeed, there is often diagnostic and classification overlap for the case definitions of a variety of somatization disorders. Fibromyalgia, however, is a critically important syndrome for physicians and scientists to be aware of. Patients should be taken very seriously and provided optimal care. Although inflammatory, infectious, and autoimmune disorders have all been ascribed to be etiological events in the development of fibromyalgia, there is very little data to support such a thesis. Many of these disorders are associated with depression and anxiety and may even be part of what has been sometimes called affected spectrum disorders. There is no evidence that physical trauma, i.e., automobile accidents, is associated with the development or exacerbation of fibromyalgia. Treatment should be placed on education, patient support, physical therapy, nutrition, and exercise, including the use of drugs that are approved for the treatment of fibromyalgia. Treatment should not include opiates and patients should not become poly pharmacies in which the treatment itself can lead to significant morbidities. Patients with fibromyalgia are living and not dying of this disorder and positive outlooks and family support are key elements in the management of patients.
Keywords: Chronic fatigue syndrome; Chronic pain; Coping; Fibromyalgia; Opiates; Patient support; Stress; Trauma.