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Glossary Term


Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized by widespread pain and tenderness at specific tender point sites. It may also involve psychosocial stressors and inflammation. Recent research suggests that it may be caused by central sensitization of myofascial pain, often associated with trigger points. This loosely defined diagnosis poses challenges in terms of definition and validity. Fibromyalgia is typically diagnosed using the 1990 American College of Rheumatology criteria. Treatment may involve a combination of medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes. Some synonyms for fibromyalgia include fibromyalgia syndrome and fibrositis. Related glossary terms include myofascial pain syndrome, trigger points, and chronic pain.

Fibromyalgia: a loosely defined diagnosis that is associated with a combination of widespread pain in combination with 2) tenderness at 11 or more of the 18 specific tender point sites. Consideration may also be given to the presence of psychosocial stressors and inflammatory disease in the patients history. Newer research suggests that fibromyalgia may be at least in part due to central sensitization of myofascial pain, often associated with trigger points (1 - 4).

  1. Wolfe, F. (2018). Fibromyalgia Syndrome and Fibromyalgia Syndrome Criteria: Problems in Definition and Validity. Fibromyalgia Syndrome and Widespread Pain: From Construction to Relevant Recognition.
  2. Wolfe, F., Smythe, H. A., Yunus, M. B., Bennett, R. M., Bombardier, C., Goldenberg, D. L., ... & Fam, A. G. (1990). The American College of Rheumatology 1990 criteria for the classification of fibromyalgia. Arthritis & Rheumatism: Official Journal of the American College of Rheumatology33(2), 160-172.
  3. Alonso-Blanco, C., Fernandez-de-las-Penas, C., Morales-Cabezas, M., Zarco-Moreno, P., Ge, H. Y., & Florez-García, M. (2011). Multiple active myofascial trigger points reproduce the overall spontaneous pain pattern in women with fibromyalgia and are related to widespread mechanical hypersensitivity. The Clinical journal of pain27(5), 405-413.
  4. Staud, R., Nagel, S., Robinson, M. E., & Price, D. D. (2009). Enhanced central pain processing of fibromyalgia patients is maintained by muscle afferent input: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. PAIN®145(1-2), 96-104.