Fibromyalgia is a medical disorder characterized by chronic widespread pain and allodynia, a heightened and painful response to pressure. Fibromyalgia symptoms are not restricted to pain, leading to the use of the alternative term fibromyalgia syndrome for the condition. Other symptoms include debilitating fatigue, sleep disturbance, and joint stiffness. Fibromyalgia is frequently comorbid with psychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety and stress-related disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder.Fibromyalgia is estimated to affect 2-4% of the population, with a female to male incidence ratio of approximately 9:1.
As with many other medically unexplained syndromes, there is no known cure or universally accepted treatment for fibromyalgia, and treatment is typically aimed at symptom management. Developments in the understanding of the pathophysiology of the disorder have led to improvements in treatment, which include prescription medication, behavioral intervention, exercise, and alternative and complementary medicine. Indeed, integrated treatment plans that incorporate medication, patient education, aerobic exercise and cognitive-behavioral therapy have been shown to be effective in alleviating pain and other fibromyalgia-related symptoms. In 2005, the American Pain Society produced the first comprehensive guidelines for patient evaluation and management. More recently, the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) issued updated treatment guidelines.