A practical approach to fibromyalgia.

L. S. Brecher, T. C. Cymet

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The term fibromyalgia refers to a collection of symptoms with no clear physiologic cause, but the symptoms together constitute a clearly recognizable and distinct pathologic entity. The diagnosis is made through the examiner's clinical observations. The differential diagnosis must include other somatic syndromes as well as disease entities, including hepatitis, hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus, electrolyte imbalance, multiple sclerosis, and cancer. Diagnostic criteria serve as guidelines for diagnosis, not as absolute requirements. Treatment of fibromyalgia, which is an ongoing process, remains individualized, relying on a good physician-patient relationship. It is goal-oriented, directed at helping patients get restorative sleep, alleviating the somatic pains, keeping patients productive, and regulating schedules. It can be achieved through a goal-oriented agreement between patient and provider. Because fibromyalgia is chronic and may affect all areas of an individual's functioning, the physician needs to also evaluate the social support systems of patients with fibromyalgia. The approach to treatment should integrate patient education as well as non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic modalities. To keep patients well educated and involved in their healthcare, physicians should provide patients with adequate sources for reliable information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S12-17
JournalThe Journal of the American Osteopathic Association
Issue number4 Suppl Pt 2
StatePublished - Apr 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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