Diagnosing Fibromyalgia | LYRICA® (pregabalin) CV | Safety Info
Diagnosing fibromyalgia is the first step toward finding pain relief
Fibromyalgia can be difficult to diagnose. In fact, for many people it can take years. But getting that diagnosis can start you on your path to treatment. By understanding how fibromyalgia is diagnosed, you may be able to reach that point a little sooner. For instance, you may need to find a specialist who is familiar with your condition.
Why fibromyalgia can be challenging to diagnose
There are a number of reasons why diagnosing fibromyalgia can be difficult:
Doctors often need to rule out other conditions first
Fibromyalgia can mimic other conditions. Seemingly unrelated symptoms may lead your doctor to suspect other diseases. Doctors often test for other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, Lyme disease, and mononucleosis before reaching a fibromyalgia diagnosis.
X-rays or blood tests can't be used to diagnose fibromyalgia
Since there are no tests that can determine whether or not you have fibromyalgia, your doctor needs to rely solely on your symptoms. And these symptoms often vary from person to person and from day to day. It’s important to tell your doctor about your symptoms so he or she understands the pain you’re feeling.
Not all doctors have diagnosed and treated fibromyalgia before
Although fibromyalgia is not a rare condition, some doctors are more experienced with it than others. So, it is important to find a doctor with experience of making the fibromyalgia diagnosis and treating the condition. Rheumatologists, neurologists, and pain management specialists frequently diagnose and treat fibromyalgia.
Guidelines to help your doctor diagnose fibromyalgia
There are guidelines that can be very helpful in the diagnosis of fibromyalgia. In 1990, the American College of Rheumatology published the following criteria:
Based on these guidelines, your doctor may perform a tender points exam. Your doctor will do this by applying pressure to these 18 points and counting how many you find tender.
In 2010, the American College of Rheumatology published a new set of preliminary guidelines. These guidelines include a widespread pain index that assesses the number of painful body regions, and a scale that assesses the severity of symptoms such as fatigue, sleep problems, comprehension problems, and others in the body.
By using one or both of these sets of guidelines, along with tests to rule out other possible conditions, it is possible for your doctor to make a fibromyalgia diagnosis. So if you think you may have fibromyalgia, talk to your doctor about what steps you can take toward an accurate diagnosis. Get tips to prepare for your next doctor appointment.