Serious investigators of fibromyalgia (FM) realize the profound implications of finding features of small fiber neuropathy (SFN) in this disorder. For the first time, an easily reproducible and generally agreed upon, peripheral tissue lesion has been reported from multiple investigative centers. Understanding how this discovery relates to other features of FM, and how one might utilize it to better comprehend, and care for, afflicted patients' painful complaints remains a challenge, however. In this article we review how the SFN seen in FM may be placed in context, and suggest how such a tissue abnormality might be used to better understand the pathophysiology of FM, and plan for its effective treatment. We also suggest how finding SFN in FM implies the need for continued focused research within the area of neuropathic disease in FM.
Keywords: Chronic pain; Chronic widespread pain; Epidermal nerve fiber density; Fibromyalgia; Neuropathic pain; Small fiber neuropathy.