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Papers of the Week

2021 Apr 09

Int J Mol Sci



Fibromyalgia: Pathogenesis, Mechanisms, Diagnosis and Treatment Options Update.


Siracusa R, Paola R D, Cuzzocrea S, Impellizzeri D
Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Apr 09; 22(8).
PMID: 33918736.


Fibromyalgia is a syndrome characterized by chronic and widespread musculoskeletal pain, often accompanied by other symptoms, such as fatigue, intestinal disorders and alterations in sleep and mood. It is estimated that two to eight percent of the world population is affected by fibromyalgia. From a medical point of view, this pathology still presents inexplicable aspects. It is known that fibromyalgia is caused by a central sensitization phenomenon characterized by the dysfunction of neuro-circuits, which involves the perception, transmission and processing of afferent nociceptive stimuli, with the prevalent manifestation of pain at the level of the locomotor system. In recent years, the pathogenesis of fibromyalgia has also been linked to other factors, such as inflammatory, immune, endocrine, genetic and psychosocial factors. A rheumatologist typically makes a diagnosis of fibromyalgia when the patient describes a history of pain spreading in all quadrants of the body for at least three months and when pain is caused by digital pressure in at least 11 out of 18 allogenic points, called tender points. Fibromyalgia does not involve organic damage, and several diagnostic approaches have been developed in recent years, including the analysis of genetic, epigenetic and serological biomarkers. Symptoms often begin after physical or emotional trauma, but in many cases, there appears to be no obvious trigger. Women are more prone to developing the disease than men. Unfortunately, the conventional medical therapies that target this pathology produce limited benefits. They remain largely pharmacological in nature and tend to treat the symptomatic aspects of various disorders reported by the patient. The statistics, however, highlight the fact that 90% of people with fibromyalgia also turn to complementary medicine to manage their symptoms.