The exponential increase in pain research over the last 10 years has established fibromyalgia (FM) as a common chronic pain syndrome with similar neurophysiologic aberrations to other chronic pain states. As such, the pathogenesis is considered to involve an interaction of augmented sensory processing (central sensitization) and peripheral pain generators. The notion, that FM symptomatology results from an amplification of incoming sensory impulses, has revolutionized the contemporary understanding of this enigmatic problem and provided a more rational approach to treatment. To date, the management of FM has been mainly palliative, with the aims of reducing pain, improving sleep, maintaining function, treating psychologic distress and diminishing the impact of associated syndromes. The rapidly evolving neurophysiologic, psychophysiologic and molecular biologic basis for chronic pain states has already opened up new avenues for management which should be applicable to this difficult group of patients. Indeed, it is now possible to think about a "rational" approach to managing FM patients that was unthinkable just a few years ago.
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