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There are no diagnostic tests for fibromyalgia. A doctor makes the diagnosis based on your symptoms. So the first step in knowing for sure if you have fibromyalgia is to talk with your doctor or healthcare provider. Symptoms of fibromyalgia include widespread muscle pain that lasts for more than three months, increased sensitivity to pain, sleep disturbances, morning stiffness, cognitive problems, depression, anxiety, and tension headaches. If you have any of these symptoms, it is important to talk with your doctor to get a diagnosis and move forward with treatment.
You should be able to determine whether you may have fibromyalgia by completing the short London Epidemiology Study Screening Questionnaire below.
Answer these questions about your symptoms over the past 3 months.
- Have you had pain in muscles, bones, or joints lasting at least 1 week? -- Yes/No
- Have you had pain in your shoulders, arms, or hands? On which side? Right, left, or both? -- Yes/No
- Have you had pain in your legs or feet? On which side? Right, left, or both? -- Yes/No
- Have you had pain in your neck, chest, or back? -- Yes/No
You may have fibromyalgia if you answered "yes" to all four pain questions and if you have pain that affects both the right and left sides of your body.
Do you often feel tired or fatigued? -- Yes/No
Does tiredness or fatigue significantly limit your activities? -- Yes/No
If you answered "yes" to both fatigue questions, you probably have chronic, debilitating fatigue. This can be part of fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia can be a frustrating condition to diagnose. It has symptoms that overlap with other conditions, and there are no definitive blood or laboratory tests to confirm it. Instead, doctors familiar with fibromyalgia make a diagnosis based on criteria established by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). According to the ACR, someone is living with fibromyalgia if he or she:
- experiences pain in several specific areas of the body that has lasted longer than three months
- is bothered by symptoms like fatigue, trouble sleeping and difficulty thinking clearly
There are other symptoms that are associated with the condition, such as tenderness and headaches, but a diagnosis of fibromyalgia is usually based on meeting the ACR's guidelines. If you suspect that you may be living with fibromyalgia, the road to an accurate diagnosis can be a long one. The best thing you can do is to find a physician who is familiar with diagnosing and treating the condition, and have him or her rule out other conditions and evaluate your pain to see if it meets those criteria.
This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.