Current Pain and Headache Reports

, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp 362–368 | Cite as

Epidemiology of fibromyalgia

  • Lily Neumann
  • Dan Buskila


Chronic widespread pain, the cardinal symptom of fibromyalgia (FM), is common in the general population, with comparable prevalence rates of 7.3% to 12.9% across different countries. The prevalence of FM in the general population was reported to range from 0.5% to 5% and up to 15.7% in the clinic. The common association of FM with other rheumatic disorders, chronic viral infections, and systemic illnesses has been well documented in several studies. Up to 65% of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus meet the criteria for FM. FM is considered a member of the family of functional somatic syndromes. These syndromes are very common and share a similar phenomenology, epidemiologic characteristics, high rates of occurrence, a common pathogenesis, and similar management strategies. A high prevalence of FM was demonstrated among relatives of patients with FM and it may be attributed to genetic and environmental factors.


Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Irritable Bowel Syndrome Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Rheumatol Interstitial Cystitis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References and Recommended Reading

  1. 1.
    Brattberb G, Thorslund M, Wikman A: The prevalence of pain in a general population: the results of a postal survey in a county of Sweden. Pain 1989, 37:215–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Lee P, Helewa A, Smythe HA, et al.: Epidemiology of musculoskeletal disorders (complaints) and related disability in Canada. J Rheumatol 1985, 12:1169–1173.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Anderson HI, Ejlertsson G, Leden I, Rosenberg C: Chronic pain in a geographically defined general population: studies of differences in age, gender social class, and pain localization. Clin J Pain 1993, 9:174–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Wolfe F, Smythe HA, Yunus MB, et al.: The American College of Rheumatology criteria for the classification of fibromyalgia: report of the multicenter criteria committee. Arthritis Rheum 1990, 33:160–172.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Wolfe F, Ross K, Anderson J, Russell IJ: Aspects of fibromyalgia in the general population: sex, pain threshold, and fibromyalgia symptoms. J Rheumatol 1995, 22:151–156.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Croft P, Rigby AS, Boswell R, et al.: The prevalence of chronic widespread pain in the general population. J Rheumatol 1993, 20:710–713.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Macfarlane GJ, Morris S, Hunt IJ, et al.: Chronic widespread pain in the community: the influence of psychological symptoms and mental disorder on healthcare seeking behavior. J Rheumatol 1999, 26:413–419.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    White P, Harth M, Speechley M, Ostbye T: The London Fibromyalgia Epidemiology Study: the prevalence of fibromyalgia syndrome in London, Ontario. J Rheumatol 1999, 26:1570–1576.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Buskila D, Abramov G, Biton A, Neumann L: The prevalence of pain complaints in a general population in Israel and its implications for utilization of health services. J Rheumatol 2000, 27:1521–1525.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Goldenberg DL: Fibromyalgia syndrome. JAMA 1987, 257:2782–2787.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Wolfe F, Ross K, Anderson J, et al.: The prevalence and characteristics of fibromyalgia in the general population. Arthritis Rheum 1995, 38:19–28.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    White KP, Harth M: Classification, epidemiology and natural history of fibromyalgia. Curr Pain Headache Reports 2001, 5:320–329. A useful review addressing the classification, epidemiology, and outcome of FM.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Bergman S, Herrstrom P, Hogstrom K, et al.: Chronic musculoskeletal pain, prevalence rates, and sociodemographic associations in a Swedish population study. J Rheumatol 2001, 28:1369–1377.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hunt IM, Silman AJ, Benjamin S, et al.: The prevalence and associated features of chronic widespread pain in the community using the ‘Manchester’ definition of chronic widespread pain. Rheumatology 1999, 38:275–279.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Jacobsson RT, Nagi DK, Pillemer SR, et al.: Low prevalences of chronic widespread pain and shoulder disorders among the Pima Indians. J Rheumatol 1996, 23:907–909.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Lindell L, Bergman S, Peterson IF, et al.: Prevalence of fibromyalgia and chronic widespread pain. Scand J Prim Health Care 2000, 18:149–153.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Prescott E, Kjoller M, Jacobsen S, et al.: Fibromyalgia in the adult Danish population.I: a prevalence study. Scand J Rheumatol 1993, 22:233–237.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Farooqi A, Gibson T: Prevalence of the major rheumatic disorders in the adult population of north Pakistan. Br J Rheumatol 1998, 37:491–495.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Forseth KO, Gran JT, Husby G: A population study of the incidence of fibromyalgia among women aged 26–55 yr. Br J Rheumatol 1997, 36:1318–1323.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    White KP, Speechley M, Harth M, et al.: The London Fibromyalgia Epidemiology Study: comparing the demographic and clinical characteristics in 100 random community cases of fibromyalgia versus controls. J Rheumatol 1999, 26:1577–1585.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Epstein WV, Henke CJ: The nature of U.S. rheumatology practice. Arthritis Rheum 1981, 24:1177–1187.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Mazanec DJ: First year of a rheumatologist in private practice. Arthritis Rheum 1982, 25:718–719.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Alarcon-Segovia D, Ramos-Niembro F, Gonzales-Amaro RF: One thousand private rheumatology patients in Mexico City (letter). Arthritis Rheum 1983, 26:688–689.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Calabozo-Raluy M, Llamzares-Gonzales AI, Munoz-Gallo MT, Alonso-Ruiz A: Sindrome de fibromyalgia (fibrositis); tan frequente como desconcido. Med Clin Barc 1990, 94:193–195.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Reilly PA, Littlejohn GO: Peripheral arthralgic presentation of fibrositis/fibromyalgia syndrome. J Rheumatol 1992, 19:281–283.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Marder WD, Meenan RF, Feldon DT, et al.: The present and future adequacy of rheumatology manpower. Arthritis Rheum 1991, 34:1209–1217.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    White KP, Speechley M, Harth M, Ostbye T: Fibromyalgia in rheumatology practice: a survey of Canadian rheumatologists. J Rheumatol 1995, 22:722–726.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Miedema HS, Van der Linden SM, Rasker JJ, Valkenburg HA: National database of patients visiting rheumatologists in the Netherlands: the standard diagnosis register of rheumatic diseases. A report and preliminary analysis. Br J Rheumatol 1988, 37:555–561.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Grady EP, Carpenter MT, Koenig CD, et al.: Rheumatic findings in Gulf War veterans. Arch Intern Med 1998, 158:367–371.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Escalante A, Fishbach M: Musculoskeletal manifestations, pain and quality of life in Persian Gulf War veterans referred for rheumatologic evaluation. J Rheumatol 1998, 25:2228–2235.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Muller W: The fibrositis syndrome: diagnosis, differential diagnosis and pathogenesis. Scand J Rheumatol 1987, 65(suppl):40–53.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Doherty M, Abawi J, Pattrick M: Audit of medical inpatient examination: a cry from the joint. J R Coll Physicians Lond 1990, 24:115–118.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Buskila D, Neumann L, Odes LR, et al.: The prevalence of musculoskeletal pain and fibromyalgia in patients hospitalized on internal medicine wards. Semin Arthritis Rheum 2001, 30:411–417. Sixty-two of 532 patients hospitalized in internal medicine wards reported pain; specifically, 21% reported CWP and 15% fulfilled criteria for FM.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Romano TJ: Coexistence of fibromyalgia syndrome (FS) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Scand J Rheumatol 1992, 21(suppl 94):12.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Abu-Shakra M, Mader R, Langevitz P, et al.: Quality of life in systemic lupus erythematosus: a controlled study. J Rheumatol 1999, 26:306–309.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Buskila D, Gladman DD, Langevitz P, et al.: Fibromyalgia in human immunodeficiency virus infection. J Rheumatol 1990, 17:1202–1206.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Romano TJ: Presence of fibromyalgia syndrome (FS) in osteoarthritis (OA) patients. Scand J Rheumatol 1992, 21 (suppl 94):11.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Yavuz S, Fresko I, Lamuryudan V, et al.: Fibromyalgia in Bahcet’s syndrome. J Rheumatol 1998, 25:2219–2220.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Gedalia A, Press J, Klein M, Buskila D: Joint hypermobility and fibromyalgia in school children. Ann Rheum Dis 1993, 52:494–496.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Acasuso-Diaz M, Collantes-Estevez E: Joint hypermobility in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome. Arthritis Care Res 1998, 11:39–42.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Hudson N, Fitzcharles MA, Cohen M, et al.: The association of soft tissue rheumatism and hypermobility. Br J Rheumatol 1998, 37:382–386.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Buskila D, Odes LR, Neumann L, Odes HS: Fibromyalgia in inflammatory bowel disease. J Rheumatol 1999, 26:1162–1171.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Buskila D, Fefer P, Harman-Boehm I, et al.: Assessment of nonarticular tenderness and prevalence of fibromyalgia in hyperprolactinemia women. J Rheumatol 1993, 20:2112–2115.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Jurell KC, Zanetos MA, Orsinelli A, et al.: Fibromyalgia: a study of thyroid function and symptoms. J Musculoskel Pain 1996, 4:49–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Buskila D, Shnaider A, Neumann L, et al.: Fibromyalgia in hepatitis C virus infection: another infectious disease relationship. Arch Intern Med 1997, 57:2497–2500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Buskila D, Neumann L, Vaisberg G, et al.: Increased rates of fibromyalgia following cervical spine injury: a controlled study of 161 cases of traumatic injury. Arthritis Rheum 1997, 3:446–452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Neumann L, Zeldets V, Bolotin A, Buskila D: Outcome of post-traumatic fibromyalgia: a 3-year follow-up of 78 cases of cervical spine injuries. Semin Arthritis Rheum 2003, 32:320–325.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Barsky AJ, Borus JF: Functional somatic syndromes. Ann Intern Med 1999, 130:910–921.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Barsky AJ: Defining the functional somatic syndromes. J Func Syndromes 2001, 1:14–20.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Pace R, Manzionna G, Bollani S, et al.: Visceral sensitivity in patients with fibromyalgia and in normal patients. Gastroenterology 1997, 12:A802.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Yunus MB, Masi AT, Calabro JJ, et al.: Primary fibromyalgia (fibrositis): clinical study of 50 patients with matched normal controls. Semin Arthritis Rheum 1981, 11:151–171.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Veale D, Kavanagh G, Fielding JF, et al.: Primary fibromyalgia and the irritable bowel syndrome: different expressions of a common pathogenetic process. Br J Rheumatol 1991, 30:220–222.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Sperber AD, Atzmon Y, Neumann L, et al.: Fibromyalgia in the irritable bowel syndrome: studies of prevalence and clinical implications. Am J Gastroenterol 1999, 94:3541–3546.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Goldenberg DL, Simms RW, Geiger A, Komaroff AL: High frequency of fibromyalgia in patients with chronic fatigue seen in a primary care practice. Arthritis Rheum 1990, 33:381–387.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Buchwald D, Garrity D: Comparison of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and multiple chemical sensitivities. Arch Intern Med 1994, 154:2049–2053.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Slotkoff AT, Radulovic DA, Clauw DJ: The relationship between fibromyalgia and the multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome. Scand J Rheumatol 1997, 26:364–367.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Clauw DJ, Schmidt M, Radulovic D, et al.: The relationship between fibromyalgia and interstitial cystitis. J Psychiatr Res 1997, 31:125–131.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Cohen H, Neumann L, Haiman Y, et al.: Prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder in fibromyalgia patients: overlapping syndromes or post-traumatic fibromyalgia syndrome? Semin Arthritis Rheum 2002, 32:38–50. A study showing a significant overlap between FM and PTSD and emphasizing stress as a possible factor in the development of FM.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Sherman JJ, Turk DC, Okifuji A: Prevalence and impact of post-traumatic stress disorder-like symptoms on patients with fibromyalgia syndrome. Clin J Pain 2000, 16:127–134.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Clauw D: Fibromyalgia associated syndromes. J Musculoskel Pain 2002, 10:201–214. An excellent review describing FM-associated syndromes and stressing their clinical hallmarks and their high prevalence.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Nissenbaum R, Barrett DH, Reyes M, Reeves WC: Deployment stressors and a chronic multisymptom illness among Gulf War veterans. J Nerv Ment Dis 2000, 188:259–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. 62.
    Roizenblatt S, Feldman DF, Goldenberg J, et al.: Juvenile fibromyalgia-infant-mother association. J Musculoskel Pain 1995, 3:118.Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    Yunus MB, Rawling KK, Khan MA, et al.: Genetic studies of multicase families with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) with HLA typing. Arthritis Rheum 1995, 38:S247.Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    Buskila D, Neumann L, Hazanov I, Carmi R: Familial aggregation in the fibromyalgia syndrome. Semin Arthritis Rheum 1996, 26:1–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. 65.
    Buskila D, Neumann L: Fibromyalgia syndrome (FM) and nonarticular tenderness in relatives of patients with FM. J Rheumatol 1997, 24:941–944.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  66. 66.
    Neumann L, Buskila D: Quality of life and physical functioning of relatives of fibromyalgia patients. Semin Arthritis Rheum 1997, 26:834–839.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. 67.
    Buskila D, Press J, Gedalia A, et al.: Assessment of nonarticular tenderness and prevalence of fibromyalgia in children. J Rheumatol 1993, 20:368–370.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  68. 68.
    Clark P, Burgos-Vargas R, Medina-Palma C, et al.: Prevalence of fibromyalgia in children: a clinical study of Mexican children. J Rheumatol 1998, 25:2009–2014.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  69. 69.
    Buskila D, Neumann L, Press J, et al.: Assessment of nonarticular tenderness of children in different ethnic groups. J Musculoskel Pain 1995, 3:83–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. 70.
    Buskila D, Neumann L, Hershman E, et al.: Fibromyalgia syndrome in children: an outcome study. J Rheumatol 1995, 22:525–528.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Current Science Inc 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lily Neumann
    • 1
  • Dan Buskila
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EpidemiologyFaculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the NegevBeer ShevaIsrael

Personalised recommendations