Is Fibromyalgia a Fashionable Diagnosis or a Medical Mystery?
07 September 2023
Despite its prevalence, there is no clear-cut diagnostic path or treatment paradigm for fibromyalgia; this can lead to a multiplicity of symptoms and comorbid conditions that complicate care. "Overlapping symptoms" describe conditions that can occur concomitantly with fibromyalgia and include migraine, irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, and pelvic pain syndromes. A variety of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatments are available for fibromyalgia, but treatment is best personalized for an individual and recognizes potential comorbidities. Opioids are not the recommended front-line treatment, cannabinoids hold promise but with limitations and nonpharmacologic options, such as aerobic or resistance exercise and cognitive behavior therapy, can play a very important but often underestimated role. Amitriptyline appears to be safe and effective in treating six of the main fibromyalgia domains: pain, disturbed sleep, fatigue, affective symptoms, functional limitations, and impaired cognition ("fibro fog"). Very low-dose naltrexone (2.5-4.5 mg) may offer analgesic and anti-inflammatory benefits to fibromyalgia patients, but further studies are needed. Fibromyalgia can be a devastating and debilitating condition for patients, and clinicians are challenged with its diagnosis and treatment as well. Further research as well as compassionate approaches to offering personalized care to those with fibromyalgia are required.
Keywords: chronic pain; fibromyalgia; fibromyalgia criteria; fibromyalgia diagnosis; pain; pain diagnosis.