What causes fibromyalgia?

Updated: Nov 14, 2018
  • Author: Chad S Boomershine, MD, PhD, CPI, CPT; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Answer

The etiology of fibromyalgia is multifactorial and includes both environmental and genetic factors. While the causes of fibromyalgia have not yet been fully clarified, remarkable progress in the understanding of this disorder has been made. For example, with the identification of central sensitization and abnormal central nociceptive processing in affected patients, fibromyalgia pain can now be classified as a neurosensory disorder.

Engel's biopsychosocial model of chronic illness (ie, health status and outcomes in chronic illness are influenced by the interaction of biologic, psychological, and sociologic factors) provides a useful way to conceptualize fibromyalgia. [47] The model is pictured in the image below.

Biopsychosocial model of fibromyalgia. Biopsychosocial model of fibromyalgia.

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