Rheumatology clinic

An approach to managing fibromyalgia

Emma Guymer, Geoffrey O Littlejohn

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Abstract

There are now real treatment options available to help patients with fibromyalgia. Dr Guymer and Professor Littlejohn discuss their latest management strategies.

Article Extract

Fibromyalgia is the most common chronic musculoskeletal pain syndrome, affecting 3 to 5% of the population. It presents a spectrum of severity, with over 80% of patients having ‘simple’ fibromyalgia, which usually has a good response to management and a high potential for reversibility.

Some therapeutic strategies for fibromyalgia are clearly helpful; in addition, promising new treatments exist. A multidisciplinary and flexible approach is best because the symptoms are diverse and fluctuating. Management must incorporate ongoing patient education about the essential nature of the disorder being a potentially reversible change in function of the pain-related part of the nervous system. Patients should be encouraged to access other reliable sources of information, such as the Arthritis Foundation, and relevant support groups. It is important to emphasise that patients should have an active role in management in order to better control the impact of symptoms on their lives.

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