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Highly Accessed Review

Biology and therapy of fibromyalgia: pain in fibromyalgia syndrome

Roland Staud

Author Affiliations

Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, McKnight Brain Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32610, USA

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2006, 8:208  doi:10.1186/ar1950


See related letter by Martinez and Cassol, http://arthritis-research.com/content/10/6/408, and related response by Eisinger, http://arthritis-research.com/content/10/6/409

Published: 24 April 2006

Abstract

Fibromyalgia (FM) pain is frequent in the general population but its pathogenesis is only poorly understood. Many recent studies have emphasized the role of central nervous system pain processing abnormalities in FM, including central sensitization and inadequate pain inhibition. However, increasing evidence points towards peripheral tissues as relevant contributors of painful impulse input that might either initiate or maintain central sensitization, or both. It is well known that persistent or intense nociception can lead to neuroplastic changes in the spinal cord and brain, resulting in central sensitization and pain. This mechanism represents a hallmark of FM and many other chronic pain syndromes, including irritable bowel syndrome, temporomandibular disorder, migraine, and low back pain. Importantly, after central sensitization has been established only minimal nociceptive input is required for the maintenance of the chronic pain state. Additional factors, including pain related negative affect and poor sleep have been shown to significantly contribute to clinical FM pain. Better understanding of these mechanisms and their relationship to central sensitization and clinical pain will provide new approaches for the prevention and treatment of FM and other chronic pain syndromes.