Pain Research and Treatment

Fibromyalgia as a Disorder Related to Distress and its Therapeutic Implications

Publishing date
15 Oct 2011
Submission deadline
15 Apr 2011

1McGill University, Canada

2Vanderbilt Fibromyalgia Clinic, USA

3University of Florida, USA

Fibromyalgia as a Disorder Related to Distress and its Therapeutic Implications


Research in recent years has demonstrated similarities between FM and other functional pain syndromes and emotional disorders such as depression. Distress, that is, persistent stress that is not resolved through coping or adaptation, appears to be a common etiological factor of these different disorders. The aim of this special issue is to bring together evidence from epidemiology, neurobiology, and physiology that the development of FM is related to distress and increased vulnerability to stressors. In addition, pharmacological as well as nonpharmacological treatment options and treatment monitoring based on this theoretical framework will be discussed.

We invite submissions for all topics listed below. Pure review-type articles as well as articles primarily containing original data will equally be considered. Each manuscript will be peer reviewed by at least two experts in the field. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • The clinical concept of FM: a changing paradigm in the past 20 years
  • Symptoms and their specificity: neurobiology underlying FM symptoms
  • FM as a disorder related to distress: evidence that persistent stressor of early life aversive events can increase vulnerability to FM and effects of distress on brain structure and function and potential link to FM
  • Chronic pain as a stressor: incidence of FM among patients with chronic focal pain; evidence that chronic pain produces persistent stress and alters brain regions implicated in FM
  • Nonpharmacological methods (excluding exercise) of stress reduction and FM therapy
  • Pharmacological methods of stress reduction and FM therapy and transmitter dysfunctions implicated in FM and pharmacological actions on these transmitters within the central stress circuitry
  • Relationship of depression to the neurobiology of stress and FM pain (differences and commonalities) and antidepressant effects on affective processing versus pain sensations
  • Peripheral effects of chronic autonomic dysregulation; stress-induced peripheral vasoconstriction; methods for improving blood supply to deep tissues, excluding exercise
  • Effects of exercise on stress response, peripheral blood flow, and FM pain
  • Effects of sympathetic dysregulation on peripheral receptors for muscle pain and fatigue: review information on deep tissue nociceptors and ergoreceptors, proposing pharmacological means and others for attenuating upregulation of these receptors
  • Methods for monitoring effects of FM therapies and suggestions for investigations of mechanism-based prevention and therapy for FM

Before submission authors should carefully read over the journal's Author Guidelines, which are located at Prospective authors should submit an electronic copy of their complete manuscript through the journal Manuscript Tracking System at according to the following timetable:

Article of the Year Award: Outstanding research contributions of 2021, as selected by our Chief Editors. Read the winning articles.