The fibrositis/fibromyalgia syndrome is one of the commonest forms of musculoskeletal pain seen in clinical practice. It is diagnosed on the basis of widespread pain accompanied by the physical finding of multiple tender points in remarkably reproducible locations. Accompanying the pain are two symptoms commonly associated with the "systemic" rheumatic disorders, namely morning stiffness and easy fatigability. Unlike the classical rheumatic diseases, however, fibrositis is not responsive to anti-inflammatory medications, including corticosteroids. Current therapeutic strategies, which are only partly successful, are aimed at modifying those factors that seemingly influence the severity and course of the condition; such afferent features include sleep disturbance, overuse syndromes, mechanical stress, psychic stress, and other causes of chronic pain. Major unresolved issues center around the assessment of functional disability in fibrositis and the apparent relationship to trauma in some patients. Until more is known about the underlying pathogenesis of this common condition, significant progress will be thwarted.
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