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Fibromyalgia Symptoms List & Diagnosis

Updated on January 12, 2016
JCielo profile image

As a researcher and author, John provides information in an easy-to-understand way that helps readers understand their condition.

Fibromyalgia can be extremely painful and debilitating.
Fibromyalgia can be extremely painful and debilitating.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia affects a lot of people: According to the Mayo Clinic, between 3 million to 6 million people suffer with Fibromyalgia (also known as Fibromyalgia Syndrome) across America.

Of those diagnosed, 80% to 90% are women, most of whom are of child-bearing age.

However, men and women of all ages and even children and teenagers can also be diagnosed with the condition.

Incredibly, one estimate puts the global figure of Fibromyalgia sufferers at between 2% - 6% of the population.

The major problem is in trying to diagnose Fibromyalgia: there are no blood tests, x-rays, scans or any other tests that can show it up.

Which is why, even in this more enlightened age, there are still those who believe it to be 'all in the head' and not a 'proper' condition. Try telling that to those people whose lives continue to be blighted because of this horrible affliction!

Here, you will find a Fibromyalgia symptoms list that you can use to check against your own, or a loved one's, experience. You will also find how your doctor may diagnose it and one doctor's view on how to treat it naturally.

Fibromyalgia Symptoms List

According to the American College of Rheumatology, the following symptoms may also accompany the chronic pain associated with Fibromyalgia.

  • Sleep disorder
  • Headaches, usually chronic
  • Muscle tenderness
  • Fatigue
  • Numbness and tingling sensations
  • Jaw and facial tenderness
  • Cognitive and memory problems (“fibro fog”)
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Irritable Bladder
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Pelvic pain
  • Sensitivity to noise and temperature
  • TMJ disorder
  • Feeling of swelling in hands and feet where no swelling exists

Not all of these symptoms may be present at the same time and they can even come and go throughout the course of the disease.

The symptoms can be very intense sometimes, whilst at other times they can be much less intense and, therefore, more manageable.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia Infographic
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia Infographic
Fibromyalgia Pain Points
Fibromyalgia Pain Points

Fibromyalgia Diagnosis

Differential Diagnosis

As was mentioned earlier, there is no definitive test for Fibromyalgia. What is commonly used to help diagnosis the condition is a technique called 'differential diagnosis.'

In this, the doctor tests for the most likely cause(s) of the symptoms, i.e. other known diseases and conditions with similar symptoms. When all these have been completed, and if all are negative, then the patient is more likely to have Fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia Symptoms Tender Points Criteria

However, the Multi-center Criteria Committee of the American College of Rheumatology have developed criteria, based on Fibromalgia 'tender points', to help determine if a patient has the condition...

1. The patient has had widespread pain in all four quadrants of their body for a minimum of three months.

2. The patient must have pain in at least 11 of the 18 tender points (Fibromyalgia markers).

Note: More than 75 tender points are known to exist above and beyond the 18 used in the criteria, but they are not used in the diagnosis.

So using a combination of differential diagnosis and the ACR's criteria a positive diagnosis can be made.

Now, clearly, some patients may have pain in less than 11 of the 18 tender spots, and / or have pain in one or more of the other tender spots in the body. In this case, taken together with the differential diagnosis and the doctor's in-depth knowledge of the patient, a Fibromyalgia diagnosis may also be made.

Fibromyalgia, Symptoms, and Natural Treatment

List of Key Points

The following list is a quick summary of the key issues in Dr. Mercola's Fibromyalgia video:-

  • A serious condition that affects many people.
  • There is no specific diagnostic test available at this point in time.
  • The condition is associated with symmetrical pain points: inside elbows and knees, collarbone, outside of the hip, etc.
  • It is also associated with sleep disturbance: important to ensure a proper night's sleep.
  • Conventional treatment uses pain or psychotropic medication which he doesn't recommend.
  • He prefers to identify the cause and treat using natural lifestyle approaches.
  • He proposes daily exercise appropriate to your condition to help get good sleep at night.
  • He advises to use the services of an exercise professional to guide you through the program.
  • Research shows vitamin D is very effective for muscle pain: ensure your levels are at optimum.
  • Diet is important: avoid all processed food, eat fresh, locally grown organic.
  • He suggests using 'nutritional typing' to help select the food types for your diet.
  • Emotional tactics are important too: meditation, prayer, 'emotional freedom technique'

References for Fibromyalgia Symptoms List & Diagnosis

  • http://fmaware.org/PageServerda3b.html?pagename=fibromyalgia_diagnosed
  • http://www.webmd.com/fibromyalgia/understanding-fibromyalgia-symptoms
  • http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Fibromyalgia/Pages/Introduction.aspx
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fibromyalgia#Diagnosis
  • http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fibromyalgia/DS00079

Disclaimer

The content of this Hub is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to be a substitute for proper medical diagnosis, treatment or advice, and you should not assume that it is. Always consult your health-care provider / physician / doctor before taking any medications, natural remedies, supplements, or making any major changes to your diet.

© 2013 JCielo

Comments

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    • JCielo profile imageAUTHOR

      JCielo 

      5 years ago from England

      DDE - Thanks so much for leaving your comment on my Fibromyalgia Symptoms List & Diagnosis article.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Interesting about Fibromyalgia Symptoms List & Diagnosis, you did this so well. Many patients are often not diagnosed from the beginning.

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