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Educational Activity

Pain and the Brain: Chronic Widespread Pain

Lesley M. Arnold

Published: April 15, 2009

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Find more articles on this and other psychiatry and CNS topics:
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders

Article Abstract

Chronic widespread pain is associated with several medical and psychiatric disorders including, but not limited to, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, mood disorders, hepatitis, endocrine disorders such as hypothyroidism, and rheumatologic disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis. Careful and comprehensive differential diagnosis must be performed to ensure a correct diagnosis before an appropriate treatment can be selected. Fibromyalgia, in particular, is challenging to diagnose and treat because it shares many characteristics with other disorders and is commonly concurrent with major mood disorders. A comprehensive disease management strategy including patient education, pharmacotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and aerobic and other forms of exercise can be beneficial for many patients with fibromyalgia.

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