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J Natl Med Assoc. Apr 2003; 95(4): 278–285.
PMCID: PMC2594623
A practical approach to fibromyalgia.
Tyler Childs Cymet
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Section Head, Family Medicine, Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Maryland 21215, USA.
Abstract
Fibromyalgia is the name given to a collection of symptoms with no clear physiologic cause, The constellation of symptoms are clearly recognizable as a distinct pathologic entity. The diagnosis is made through clinical observations made by the examiner. Differential diagnosis must include other somatic syndromes as well as disease entities like hepatitis, hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus, electrolyte imbalance, multiple sclerosis, and cancer. Diagnostic criteria are given as guidelines for the diagnosis, not as absolute requirements. Treatment of this condition remains individualized and relies heavily on having a therapeutic relationship with a provider. Treatment of this syndrome needs to be looked at as an ongoing process. Goal oriented treatment aimed at maintaining specific functions can be directed at helping a patient get restorative sleep, alleviating the somatic pains that ail the patient, keeping a person productive, regulating schedules or through goal oriented agreements made with the patient. Since this syndrome is chronic and may effect all areas of a persons functioning the family and social support system of the person being treated need to be evaluated. Patients often seek alternative medical treatments for this problem including diet therapy, acupuncture, and herbal therapy. Treatment must involve more than just the symptoms presented and the patient can only be treated successfully if they are willing to work at changing their own perceptions, and ways of relating to stressors in their world.
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