Fibromyalgia: Proof of Physical Origins Vs. Two Danish Psychiatrists


Lately, there has been some buzz about two Danish psychiatrists who, back in 2010, decided to classify a group of diseases including fibromyalgia into one disease “umbrella” called “bodily distress syndrome.” Along with fibromyalgia, other diseases such as chronic pain, chronic fatigue syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome, among others, were also lumped into this new “syndrome.” That Danish study from 2010 was entitled One single diagnosis, bodily distress syndrome, succeeded to capture 10 diagnostic categories of functional somatic syndromes and somatoform disorders. Bodily distress syndrome is classified as a mental disorder. This Danish definition of what two Danish psychiatrists consider to be a psychiatric problem has caused some confusion here in the United States.

The 2010 study performed by the two Danish psychiatrists had some buzz around it recently because last year, a Danish woman suffering from a disease covered under “bodily distress syndrome,” Karina Hansen, was forcibly removed from her home and placed into a hospital where she is being reportedly held against her will and is not allowed to see her parents.

This case in Denmark, and the fact that other Danish psychiatrists have now accepted “bodily distress syndrome” as an actual disease, has raised questions among some interested parties in the United States as to whether fibromyalgia could be grouped into one disease here. Despite the fact that the “syndrome” was only discussed in one small paper from 2010 and despite the fact that there are studies and data to prove fibromyalgia is a real physical illness along with proof of it having real physical origins, there are some psychiatrists who still claim it is a mental condition.

To be clear, no major organizations such as the CDC or the World Health Organization have labeled fibromyalgia a mental disorder or mental illness. It is not included in the WHO’s classification of mental disorders. In fact, the WHO defines fibromyalgia as a “soft tissue” or “rheumatic” disease. The World Health Organization website states:

Fibromyalgia is included in the Tenth Revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) published by WHO in 1992 as follows: M79 Other soft tissue disorders, not elsewhere classified, M79.0 Rheumatism, unspecified, Fibromyalgia, Fibrositis.

Despite the fact that the WHO does not classify fibromyalgia as a mental disorder, and has no plans to re-label it as such, there has been some confusion about whether they do now or may in the future classify it as a mental condition. This confusion prompted the WHO to send out the following Tweet recently to clarify the matter:

Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS are not included as Mental & Behavioural Disorders in ICD-10, there is no proposal to do so for ICD-11

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also reports that Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes physical pain and often occurs with conjunction with other physical diseases:

Fibromyalgia often co-occurs (up to 25-65%) with other rheumatic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and ankylosing spondylitis (AS).

Nowhere in any WHO or CDC published documents does it state that fibromyalgia is definitely “all in the head,” “a mental health condition” or “psychological.”

In addition to these major organizations recognizing fibromyalgia as a physical, not mental, ailment, there have recently been many studies and papers that are finding multiple possible causes of fibromyalgia such as a vitamin D deficiency, extra nerve fibers in the hands, rheumatism, physical trauma, viral infections and other causes.

While the two Danish psychiatrists may believe that fibromyalgia is a mental condition, and there are perhaps some psychiatrists in the United States who might wish to classify it that way because it could perhaps bring them more business, fibromyalgia is discussed and classified by the WHO as a physical, and not a mental condition. While the exact physical etiology for every patient suffering from fibromyalgia is unknown at this this time, some research has shown definite physical causes and ongoing research continues to uncover new information. This proof of physical origins of the condition is growing at a fast pace.

Dr. Frank Rice, who conducted the peer reviewed, published research study proving that a majority of fibromyalgia patients had extra nerve fibers in their hands, is doing ongoing research which continues to yield physical causes centering on the nerves in the body and how those nerves relay information.

Dr. Rice states that his study results had a very high level of significance, and that particular study proved that fibromyalgia pain originates from too many of a specific type of nerve fiber in the skin. Speaking about his study, he states:

The results were so profound that they achieved an especially high level of significance. The standard for significance in scientific studies is what is referred to as a “p value of 0.05” which means that there is only a 5% possibility that the results could be explained by chance. Our results were a p value of 0.0001 which means a 0.01% likelihood of occurring by chance.

Additionally, Dr. Rice is involved in further research that he feels confident will pave the way toward more meaningful physical diagnoses and better treatment approaches. At this time it appears that the proof and data supports the classification as fibromyalgia as a concern stemming from physical origins and not as a mental disorder.

An Editorial By: Rebecca Savastio

 Guardian Liberty Voice

World Health Organization

Centers for Disease Control


Brain Physics

Washington Times

Web MD

Health Central

Personal email from Dr. Frank Rice

36 Responses to "Fibromyalgia: Proof of Physical Origins Vs. Two Danish Psychiatrists"

  1. Kathryn   July 19, 2016 at 3:58 am

    I know that narcotics are not the way to go for most, but may I defend the individuality of FB and it’s treatments? I’ve had FB for 21 yrs.
    My narcotics are the only thing that GETS ME GOING due to the reduction of pain (from an 8.5 down to a 6 on a good day). Of course I am still in a great deal of pain, but it’s TOLERABLE.
    I am on (as of this year) 2-75 mg patches of fentanyl. I know, I know. I am also on 4mgs of delaudids every 4 hrs. I weigh 100 lbs (& losing) & am 5’4. But I never feel the mental fog of these drugs (as apposed to Fibro fog-completely different). I believe it’s because the pain eats them up.
    Since I started this specific treatment, I am able to have a few more days a week (if I’m careful & do not overexert). I am mentally alert, as much as Fibro allows. Even on these drugs, I have a hard time sleeping.
    Believe me, I do not like the idea of these drugs any more than most people. But it gives me a quality of life I haven’t had in a very long time.
    God bless you & thank you for taking the time to read my views.

  2. giftbearer   February 28, 2016 at 11:30 pm

    I seriously think doctors go to saying conditions like this are all in the patient’s head when they feel like idiots because they can’t solve the patient’s pain and most of the time their patient is more educated than they, so they take low blows because it’s really the only power they have. It’s the act of a desperate doctor (usually male, you may notice).

  3. Pauline Selston   February 25, 2016 at 8:47 am

    I can’t even get my GP to refer me to a rumatologist, I have never seen a specialist about this condition. He just insists it’s what I have (among other syndromes), I get given co codomol pain killers which I don’t take as I have IBS and it makes it worse. I use them occasionally, if I have to do a streneous job. Thied pain patches, but they bring me out in sore blisters. GP makes me feel ilke a hipocrondiac. It’s very hard living with this.

    • mand Season   February 28, 2016 at 3:09 am

      Pauline, you are entitled to a second opinion! See a different GP – even if it means a train journey to get there. It is SO worth it. The first time I changed my GP, I was surprised that it really wasn’t a big deal to them. It felt like a huge “official complaint” to me but all I needed to say was that we weren’t getting on (I didn’t feel heard, I think I said) and I was registered to another one.

      No need to actually leave her/him, you can just have one appointment with a different GP. But if you find someone else supportive, I can’t see any point in staying with one who doesn’t take you seriously. Co-codamol doesn’t work on fibromyalgia pain anyway since it is neurological pain. It helps with pain that comes from the tension in your muscles, which comes from the fm pain… that’s all. In my experience.

      Take charge of the care you get! And good luck. 🙂

  4. Jen Ballington-James   May 4, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    My Rheumatologist in the UK has repeatedly diagnosed me with FM, despite having persistent pain only in my hips. I understood that I should have 11/18 sore spots to be properly diagnosed with FM, yet when I challenged the diagnosis, AGAIN, I was told that I could still have it with just 2 sore places. I’ve asked for ultrasound, CT & MRI scans yet I have been refused. I sincerely believe that I have something else, but this determination to tell me I have FM has pigeonholed me neatly into a ‘keep taking the pills’ box they can ignore. What do I do now?!

    • Rebecca Sivyour   May 9, 2015 at 5:19 am

      Get a new Rheumatologist. You always have the right to challenge a Doctor’s diagnosis and ask for a second opinion.

    • Steph   June 25, 2015 at 8:00 pm

      Get a naturalpath, they will run a full panel. I too was diagnosed with FM and later found out it was from my Magnesium and Vit D working against it. Taking the right supplements to catch up has made a world of a difference. Its worth a try. Also I had a buccal test of cells to compare with my blood tesr and come to find out they were way off count. In blood tests you don’t get as accurate of a measuement.

  5. Eva van Loon   April 26, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    Ame, your doc could be right about Medication Road–it might only obscure what’s wrong. You could ask him/her to look up polymyalgia rheumatica, which seems to fit you as well, but the only treatment for that is prednisone and PMR is another one of these diagnoses without cause or cure, anyway.
    I’ve “had” FM since ’92 and didn’t get anywhere with it until I went natural. Basically, I moved to Hawaii and began living more healthily. Pretty soon nobody could have guessed I had FM. However, it’s never over, I’ve realized. Now, back in Canada, I’ve had cancer and an apparently thyroid death, but I’ve beaten them back with natural methods such as alkalinization, oxygenation, going organic and a selection of “nutraceuticals”–supplements.
    There are some very helpful doctors online (Dr. Sircus, Dr. Lam, Dr. Kalish, Dr. Mercola, to name a few)–start reading and see what fits. It’s your body, after all–the only one you’ll ever have.
    You may be surprised at what something as simple and cheap as baking soda can do for pain. Which reminds me…I’m off to take my baking-soda bath right now!

  6. Eva van Loon   April 26, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    Is this stupid conversation still going on after a quarter century?
    No, FM does not originate in the patient’s head. Yes, the pain is real–duh!
    It is annoying to see medical researchers wasting their time on the question of psychiatric cause vs physical cause–a failure of the medical profession and the researchers to step outside the box and see the human body for what it truly is.
    *Thyroid Resurrection: from dead to dynamic without drugs* strongly hints at the insights you can get, as an FM patient, by thinking out of the box. Or just wait for my two new fibromyalgia books this summer, which i hope will kill this all-in-your-head argument for once and for all..

  7. Julie King (@ransattz)   April 17, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    Ame, get a new Rheumatologist. I’ve had Fibro w/o knowing it, along with psoriatic arthritis for over 15 years and am not on heavy meds. Tried that route and hated how I felt, pain still there anyway. Now on motrin and tramadol, it has its own tolerance problems but doesn’t make you feel narcotized and can be effective along with the ant-inflammatory.
    Fibro will make you crazy if you don’t have a knowledgeable, supportive doctor. It still will be hard but not as bad as you’re having now, both physically and psychologically. Good luck.

  8. ame   April 17, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    I suffer severe back ache hip joints shoulder joints knee joint arms I wake up exhausted I wake in the night in pain just to turn over I’m 38 and feel 80 I have hypermobility but my doctor says it’s mild iv seen a rheumatologist and he says I have early osteo arthritis he asked if I had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I said no bur after reading all the symptoms it fits! I’m exhausted in pain and feel physically restrained although my brain keeps telling me to push myself even housework leaves me in so much pain it knocks me for six, my sex life is painful purely because my joints ache during and after sometime coz I can relax knowing the pain I will be in sex even hurts phsycologicaly and physically my children are all young still and I force myself daily to be active for them also trying to keep an organised house but I feel that I have to rely on pain relief to get me through, I do make it very minimal though and certainly don’t rely on it, I asked my doctor to follow it up and he said he felt that fibromyalgia sufferers are only on a road to high medication and he didn’t want to send me down that road!!! Although my rheumatologist has given me his diagnosis I feel like iv been fobbed off coz if I have early stages then the way I feel does not compare to this even with the stigma that comes with fibromyalgia I feel like this is what I have. I’m not sure where to go from here really as I feel ill not know till its too late xxx rant over lol xxx

  9. sylvia   March 29, 2015 at 12:47 am

    After all these years of people suffering these idiots say that it’s all head.sorry this condition is for Real I having suffering for 42 years and still no effective treatment has been found sorry Dr’s it is not in my head it’s for real.


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