Fibromyalgia syndrome: ‘a dose of the flu that lasts forever’

Eric Visser



Fibromyalgia syndrome results in widespread pain and other symptoms related largely to dysregulation of the neuroimmune system. It is often described by patients as ‘feeling like a never-ending dose of the flu’. It can be regarded as a chronic stress-or-sickness response and should be managed using a multimodal approach.

Key Points

  • People with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) present with chronic widespread pain, fatigue, sleep disturbance, sensory sensitivity and psychocognitive dysfunction.
  • In FMS there is evidence of psychoneuroimmune, cortical and endocrine dysfunction and in some cases widespread small-fibre polyneuropathy.
  • Illness, stress, duress and trauma are common triggers of FMS, and there is a strong link to mood and anxiety disorders.
  • The whole person with FMS should be managed using a biomedical psychosocial approach.

    Picture credit: © Science Source/Jim Dowdalls/