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Perspectives

Fibromyalgia syndrome: ‘a dose of the flu that lasts forever’

Eric Visser

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Abstract

Fibromyalgia syndrome results in widespread pain and other symptoms related largely to dysregulation of the neuroimmune system. It is often described by patients as ‘feeling like a never-ending dose of the flu’. It can be regarded as a chronic stress-or-sickness response and should be managed using a multimodal approach.

Key Points

  • People with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) present with chronic widespread pain, fatigue, sleep disturbance, sensory sensitivity and psychocognitive dysfunction.
  • In FMS there is evidence of psychoneuroimmune, cortical and endocrine dysfunction and in some cases widespread small-fibre polyneuropathy.
  • Illness, stress, duress and trauma are common triggers of FMS, and there is a strong link to mood and anxiety disorders.
  • The whole person with FMS should be managed using a biomedical psychosocial approach.

    Picture credit: © Science Source/Jim Dowdalls/Diomedia.com

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