Article

The evaluation of the fibromyalgia patients

Rheumatology Unit, L. Sacco University Hospital, Milan, Italy.
Reumatismo 09/2011; 60 Suppl 1(1s):36-49. DOI: 10.4081/reumatismo.2008.1s.36
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a rheumatic disease characterized by musculoskeletal pain, chronic diffuse tension and/or stiffness in joints and muscles, easy fatigue, sleep and emotional disturbances, and pressure pain sensitivity in at least 11 of 18 tender points. At present, there are no instrumental tests or specific diagnostic markers for FM; in fact, many of the existing indicators are significant for research purposes only. Many differential diagnoses may be excluded by an extensive clinical examination and patient history. Considering overlap of FM with other medical conditions, the treating physicians should be vigilant: chest-X-rays and abdominal ultrasonography are the first steps of general evaluation for all the patients with suspected FM. Functional neuroimaging methods have revealed a large number of supraspinal effects in FM, a disorder mediated by mechanisms that are essentially unknown. Many treatments are used in FM patients, but evaluating their therapeutic effects in FM is difficult because the syndrome is so multifaceted. To address the identification of core outcome domains, the Initiative on IMMPACT and OMERACT workshop convened a meeting to develop consensus recommendations for chronic pain clinical trials.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Manuela Di Franco
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Fibromyalgia (FM) is a rheumatic disease characterised by musculoskeletal pain, chronic diffuse tension and/or stiffness in joints and muscles, fatigue, sleep and emotional disturbances and pressure pain sensitivity in at least 11 of 18 tender points. There are currently no instrumental tests or specific diagnostic markers, and the characteristic symptoms of the disease overlap those of many other conditions classified in a different manner. FM is often associated with other diseases that act as confounding and aggravating factors, including primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It has been reported to coexist in 25% of patients with RA, 30% of patients with SLE and 50% of patients with pSS. Its clinical diagnosis is not easy because FM-like symptoms are frequent, and its differential diagnosis with other causes of chronic diffuse pain is difficult. This is even more true in the case of patients who are positive for antinuclear antibodies (ANAs) because, although sensitive, ANA positivity is not specific for SLE or connective tissue diseases, and can also be found in 10-15% of FM patients. Furthermore, composite indices such as the disease activity score (DAS)-28, which are widely used in everyday clinical practice and clinical trials, may be insufficient to evaluate real inflammatory activity in patients with RA associated with chronic pain syndromes such as FM, and can lead to an overestimate of disease activity in RA. The presence of diffuse pain in autoimmune rheumatic diseases compromises the quality of life of the patients, although overall mortality is not increased. A misdiagnosis harms the patients and the community. Rheumatologists should be able to recognise and distinguish primary and secondary FM, and need new guidelines and instruments to avoid making mistakes.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2011 · Best practice & research. Clinical rheumatology
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Fibromyalgia (FM) is a rheumatic disease that is characterised by chronic musculoskeletal pain, stiffness, fatigue, sleep and mood disorder. FM patients demonstrate dysregulation of pain neurotransmitter function and experience a neurohormone-mediated association with sleep irregularities. There are currently no instrumental tests or specific diagnostic markers for FM, and many of the existing indicators are only significant for research purposes. Anti-depressants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), opioids, sedatives, muscle relaxants and antiepileptics have all been used to treat FM with varying results. It has been shown that interdisciplinary treatment programmes lead to greater improvements in subjective pain and function than monotherapies. Physical exercise and multimodal cognitive behavioural therapy are the most widely accepted and beneficial forms of non-pharmacological therapy.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2011 · Best practice & research. Clinical rheumatology
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Introduction Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic pain syndrome characterized by widespread pain, fatigue, sleep alterations, and distress. It affects at least 2% of the adult population. The etiology of FM is not completely understood, and the syndrome is influenced by stress, physical illness, and a variety of pain conditions. Emerging evidence indicates that augmented pain processing within the central nervous system plays a primary role in the pathophysiology of this disorder. Diagnosis may be difficult because of the multifaceted nature of the syndrome and its overlap with other chronically painful conditions. This article reviews the most recent data in the literature on FM. Materials and methods There are currently no instrumental tests or specific diagnostic markers for FM. In fact, many of the existing indicators are regarded as significant for research purposes only. Results Differential diagnosis requires an extensive clinical examination and complete patient history. Chest-X-rays and abdominal ultrasonography are the first steps in the general evaluation of a patient with suspected FM. Conclusions A variety of pharmacological treatments have been used to treat FM, including antidepressants, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, opioids, sedatives, muscle relaxants, and antiepileptics. Physical exercise and multimodal cognitive-behavioral therapy seem to be the most widely accepted and beneficial forms of non-pharmacological therapy.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2012 · Italian Journal of Medicine
Show more