To keep things simple Fibromyalgia or Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) is diagnosed by a doctor, nurse or other medical specialist when you have 11 or more tender points in SPECIFIC places on your body. The following is a diagram of these tender point spots. There are 18 in all and you must have soreness, on touch, in 11 or more to have a diagnosis.
Fibromyalgia is diagnosed according to criteria published by the American College of Rheumatology: widespread musculoskeletal pain and tenderness measured by the ‘tender point count’ on physical examination.
DIFFICULTY IN GETTING A DIAGNOSIS OF FIBROMYALGIA
There are many reasons why you may find it difficult to get a correct diagnosis.
Here are some I have encountered:
- FMS can exist at the same time as other medical conditions and these can also be pain conditions e.g. have Polymyositis which is an autoimmune condition which causes weakness and pain in proximal muscles but I also have FMS as I have tender point pain in 11 places.
- There is no specific blood test for FMS.
- Many medical specialists believe that fibromyalgia is all in the head and this can range from a variety of opinions from it doesn't exist to, it is due to depression, to it is due to changes in neurochemicals in the brain.
- One specialist told me that FMS is a diagnosis given to people in pain when they have not yet got a complete diagnosis.
- FMS causes so many symptoms, not just pain, and the patient may not present with the pain as the other symptoms may be their immediate concern.