Fibromyalgia syndrome: assessment of the severity of the condition 2 years after diagnosis

J Rheumatol. 1994 Mar;21(3):523-9.


Objective: To review the outcome of patients with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) diagnosed and treated with minimal intervention in community rheumatology practice.

Methods: Forty-four ambulant patients with FMS, first seen in a 2-month period and treated with a simple management program, were identified and reviewed 2 years after diagnosis. A variety of clinical and psychological features were assessed using standard techniques.

Results: Forty-seven percent no longer fulfilled Smythe or ACR criteria for FMS. Remission was objectively identified in 24.2% of assessed patients. Significant differences in objective clinical signs, in symptoms, and in self-described disability were found between patients with and without FMS. Regular physical exercise, rather than drug or specific physical therapies, correlated highly with low FMS activity scores. Analysis of mood and coping strategies at the 2-year review showed low correlations with current FMS activity.

Conclusion: Community FMS has a better prognosis than the literature suggests. Simple intervention may be associated with good outcome in a significant number of patients with FMS.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / diagnosis
  • Fibromyalgia / epidemiology*
  • Fibromyalgia / psychology
  • Fibromyalgia / therapy
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Pain Measurement
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Prognosis
  • Remission Induction
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Social Support


  • Analgesics
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Antidepressive Agents