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

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

  1. Jane mcfadden October 23, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Per fink is a dangerous ego centric Dr who has locked up a physically unwell young woman with no rights to family visits for nearly 2 years.thank you the guardian for publishing this.justice for Karina Hansen can be found bon facebook .justice for Karina Hansen’s facebook page.please help this poor woman with no human rights

  2. Jill September 5, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    2 years in June I was coming down my stairs missed the last 2 steps landed flat on my feet both ankles going flat outward, no breaks, but very badly sprained. In a couple of months, my body would start to tingle and burn from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet.
    My Primary Doctor started running test’s. MRI, all blood and found nothing except for the last mark for Lyme Disease witch was no big deal. So it turned out I am a totally healthy person always have been all of my 69 years. AS time went on the tingling turned into thousands of Fire Ant stings and my whole body was on fire again from the top of my head
    to the bottom of my feet, even my tongue, still even today. So my Primary sent me to a Neurologist, who at the time didn’t take to much concern about Fribo, so he did a nerve
    test, and to this day clams there is no nerve damage but he did diagnose me with Fibro.
    only he didn’t now what to call it and has sense changed his mind and agreed it is nerve
    Sent me to Sleep Therapy and have a new CPAP and it helps with sleeping, and I also take 2 Trizodne before I go to bed and sleep like a baby and hangover.

    Next stop was to the Behavioral Medicine, which also includes mood disturbances, such as depression and anxiety, did me good, but low and behold I’m not crazy.

    I AM on drug therapy and welcome them, better not to be in total pain.

  3. mike August 1, 2014 at 6:33 am

    I have FM. It hits me in the legs and headaches. I had knee replacement of my left knee shortly after that I had extreme fatigue in my legs and muscle soreness also my left knee causes me a lot of stiffness and pain the surgery was fine the doctor said the knee is stable I am on tramadol lyrical high dose of vitamins and have tried other sources to help my condition nothing at this time seems to help relieve the fatigue

    • mand August 2, 2014 at 3:56 am

      Mike, I can’t spend time here today (not a good day for me), but google CRPS. I’m no expert but during my time in hospital I got to know people on a CRPS programme – and your story sounds very like it. Particularly if your pain is only in your legs, and not the upper half of your body, because that alone would rule out FM. (For FM diagnosis, pain must be both above and below the waist, and both left and right, at least some of it. Unless they’ve completely changed the criteria since last time I looked.) Good luck. :)

      ps. Re-reading, it’s weakness more than pain for you – have you asked about nerve damage higher up? NB. I am NOT qualified, just knowledgeable from years of interest, so this may be wildly wrong (don’t let me scare you) – but a rheumatologist or orthopaedist won’t necessarily think of investigating other kinds of cause unless you suggest them. Even doctors think like humans! ;)


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