Reactive Fibromyalgia

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This is Greenfield et al.’s term for those cases of fibromyalgia in which there was “a precipitating event occurring prior to the onset of fibromyalgia syndrome” which appeared to be “a causative factor”. These authors distinguish “reactive fibromyalgia” from primary fibromyalgia”. They found that 23 percent the fibromyalgia patients in their study had reactive fibromyalgia because they “reported having trauma, surgery, or a medical illness before the onset of fibromyalgia”.

They also looked at the impact and they found that patient in the reactive group “were more disabled than those with primary fibromyalgia, resulting in loss of employment in 70%, disability compensation in 34%, and reduced physical activity in 45%.” They concluded: “The development of fibromyalgia after a precipitating event may represent the onset of a prolonged and disabling pain syndrome with considerable social and economic implications.” (Reactive fibromyalgia syndrome. Greenfield S1, Fitzcharles MA, Esdaile JM. Arthritis Rheum. 1992 Jun;35(6):678-81.)