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Background: Fibromyalgia is a common chronic musculoskeletal pain syndrome, however its characteristics, diagnosis and management have not always been well understood. There is now increasing understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms of fibromyalgia and development of more effective management strategies.
Objective: To explain the characteristics and diagnostic features of fibromyalgia. A discussion of current management strategies is included.
Discussion: Fibromyalgia patients have a central pain system problem that results in widespread musculoskeletal pain, and many other disabling features in the absence of tissue damage. The ability to exclude other pathology and recognize the disorder is important, as there are very real management options available. Management is most effective as a multidisciplinary, layered approach. It is important to involve the patient in their own treatment program, to enhance its success.