Author: Martin D. Cheatle
Functional pain syndromes (irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis, vulvodynia, etc) are commonly seen in primary care and by pain medicine practitioners. For example, fibromyalgia affects 5 million people and interstitial cystitis 8 million women per year, and the etiologies of these syndromes remain unknown. These syndromes are challenging, both diagnostically and in developing efficacious treatments. Patients who present with functional pain syndromes tend to have significant psychiatric comorbidities that further reduce their quality of life. It is critical that practitioners are versed in the assessment and management of these complex cases to avoid iatrogenic complications such as unneeded surgery and medication dependency and to improve clinical and functional outcomes. This multidisciplinary panel will review common functional pain syndromes, underlining theoretical pathophysiologies, diagnostic strategies, and effective interventions, including pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic approaches.