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Curr Treatm Opt Rheumatol. 2016;2(4):312-320. doi: 10.1007/s40674-016-0056-5. Epub 2016 Oct 13.

Management of Widespread Pain and Fibromyalgia.

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Epidemiology Group, Institute of Applied Health Sciences, University of Aberdeen, School of Medicine and Dentistry, Foresterhill, Aberdeen, Scotland AB25 2ZD UK.


Specialists' views of fibromyalgia (FM) are typically colored by their experiences of the selected, complex cases that they are regularly called to evaluate. At a population level, it is crucial to recognize that education which promotes patient empowerment and non-pharmacological interventions which support self-management are very effective. The temptation, for both physician and patient, to first reach for pharmacological interventions should be resisted until such holistic approaches are explored. In particular, a strong evidence base supports graded exercise and cognitive behavioral therapies, but such treatments must be intelligently "prescribed." As reflected by the recent ACR criteria, FM is a highly heterogeneous disorder and is not simply a disorder of pain. For some patients, co-occurring symptoms, such as fatigue, can be equally as impactful and so management strategies should be sufficiently versatile to target those dimensions which are considered priorities at the level of the individual patient. In those patients who do require pharmacological support, patients should not be led to expect significant gains in isolation. The importance of self-management requires emphasis at each and every tier of management. It is true that advances in our understanding of neurobiology have greatly informed the selection of adjunctive drug classes which may provide benefit (as well as those which do not-as is the case of opioids). However, further unpicking of pathogenesis is still required if the FM landscape is to move further towards drug-led management.


Chronic widespread pain; Fibromyalgia

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