Medical Progress

Understanding Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic widespread pain and tenderness for at least three months. You can take steps to manage fibromyalgia pain and help yourself feel better.

Diagnosis

Currently there are no diagnostic tests, such as x-rays or blood tests, to detect fibromyalgia. The symptoms of fibromyalgia may overlap with the symptoms of some other conditions. That is why fibromyalgia is sometimes difficult for healthcare professionals to diagnose.

Some healthcare providers use certain guidelines to help make a diagnosis. According to guidelines set by the American College of Rheumatology, a person may have fibromyalgia if he or she has both:

  • Chronic widespread pain that affects the right and left sides of the body above and below the waist
  • Feels pain in at least 11 of 18 possible tender points (nine on one side of the body, nine on the other) when light pressure is applied

Your healthcare provider may use these guidelines or other methods to make a diagnosis of fibromyalgia.

Discuss all of your symptoms with your healthcare provider. Talk openly with him or her about what you are feeling and how your symptoms are affecting you. You can work together to create a plan that meets your individual needs and helps you manage your symptoms.

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