Fibromyalgia is a chronic, widespread pain in muscles and soft tissues accompanied by fatigue that does not manifest any structural damage in an organ.
It affects approximately 2% of the US population, is an example of a class of maladies called CSS. These diseases are based on neurochemical abnormalities and include irritable bowel syndrome, migraine and restless legs syndrome.
Twenty-five years ago, Muhammad B. Yunus, MD, and colleagues published the first controlled study of the clinical characteristics of fibromyalgia syndrome.
Now Yunus and his team have done a critical review of over 225 publications and the author’s broad experience in fibromyalgia and related diseases. In his latest article he describes 13 separate conditions that are related to central sensitization (CS), where the central nervous system (spinal cord and brain) becomes extremely sensitized on certain parts of the body, so that even mild pressure or touch would cause much pain. Such hypersensitivity may also be associated with other symptoms such as poor sleep and fatigue.
According to Dr. Yunus, “CSS are the most common diseases that are based on real neurochemical pathology and cause real pain and suffering. In some patients stress and depression may contribute to the symptoms but they are all based on objective changes in the central nervous system.”
Dr. Yunus concludes that CSS is an important new concept that embraces the biopsychosocial model of disease. He advocates further critical studies to fully test this concept which seems to have important significance for new directions for research and patient care involving physician and patient education. “Each patient, irrespective of diagnosis,” says Dr. Yunus, “should be treated as an individual, considering both the biological and psychosocial contributions to his or her symptoms and suffering.”
Source: “Fibromyalgia and Overlapping Disorders: The Unifying Concept of Central Sensitivity Syndromes” by Muhammad B. Yunus