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Fibromyalgia is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Clinical Consult.

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  • Chronic, widespread noninflammatory musculoskeletal pain syndrome with multisystem manifestations. Although the specific pathophysiology has not been elucidated, it is generally thought to be a disorder of altered central pain regulation.
  • Synonym(s): FMS; fibrositis, fibromyositis (misnomers); “psychogenic rheumatism” (archaic and inaccurate)


  • Predominant sex: female (70–90%) > male (1)
  • Predominant age range: 20 to 65 years

2–5% of adult U.S. population (2); 8% of primary care patients

Etiology and Pathophysiology

  • Idiopathic; appears to be a primary disorder of central pain processing (central sensitization) with afferent augmentation of peripheral nociceptive stimuli
  • Alterations in neuroendocrine, neuromodulation, neurotransmitter, neurotransporter, biochemical, and neuroreceptor function/physiology
  • Sleep abnormalities—α-wave intrusion
  • Inflammation is not a feature of fibromyalgia.

  • Genetics
    • High familial aggregation
    • Inheritance is unknown but likely polygenic.
    • Odds ratio may be as high as 8.5 for a first-degree relative of a familial proband.
  • Environmental—several triggers have been described:
    • Physical trauma or severe illness
    • Stressors (e.g., work, family, life events, and physical or sexual abuse)
    • Viral and bacterial infections

Risk Factors

  • Female gender
  • Poor functional status
  • Negative/stressful life events
  • Low socioeconomic status

General Prevention

No known strategies for prevention

Commonly Associated Conditions

  • Often a comorbid condition with other rheumatologic or neurologic disorders
  • Obesity is common and associated with increased severity of symptoms.

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Stephens, Mark B., et al., editors. "Fibromyalgia." 5-Minute Clinical Consult, 27th ed., Wolters Kluwer, 2019. Medicine Central, im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116228/all/Fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia. In: Stephens MB, Golding J, Baldor RA, et al, eds. 5-Minute Clinical Consult. 27th ed. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116228/all/Fibromyalgia. Accessed March 22, 2019.
Fibromyalgia. (2019). In Stephens, M. B., Golding, J., Baldor, R. A., & Domino, F. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Clinical Consult. Available from https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116228/all/Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia [Internet]. In: Stephens MB, Golding J, Baldor RA, Domino FJ, editors. 5-Minute Clinical Consult. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. [cited 2019 March 22]. Available from: https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116228/all/Fibromyalgia.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Fibromyalgia ID - 116228 ED - Stephens,Mark B, ED - Golding,Jeremy, ED - Baldor,Robert A, ED - Domino,Frank J, BT - 5-Minute Clinical Consult, Updating UR - https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116228/all/Fibromyalgia PB - Wolters Kluwer ET - 27 DB - Medicine Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -