Diagnosis Of Fibromyalgia Syndrome
Fibromyalgia syndrome is a medical condition shared by many in which the sufferer has lifelong pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues all over the body. Fibromyalgia syndrome is a chronic condition branded by widespread pain, diffuse sensitivity, along with many additional indicators. This condition referred to as fibromyalgia affects the muscles and soft tissue. Fibromyalgia symptoms can consist of extended pain in the muscles, fatigue, sleep difficulties, and painful tender points also known as trigger points at particular parts on the body. Several say that they can’t fall sleep or when they do, they can’t stay asleep, and upon waking they feel tired and not as if they had rested. Fibromyalgia is categorized as a form of prevalent muscular pain and fatigue. Fibromyalgia syndrome has also been reported to be associated with low energy, sleep difficulties, headaches, depression, as well as anxiety because fatigue, disheartened frame of mind, and sleep complications are reported in very nearly all who suffer from fibromyalgia.
Research has found that those with fibromyalgia syndrome typically are likely to see a number of different doctors as well as specialists before an acceptance of the diagnosis of fibromyalgia syndrome is believed and received. One probable reason for this might be that the pain and fatigue, which are the chief symptoms of fibromyalgia, are related to and connected with many other medical conditions. As a result, doctors often need to rule out additional possible causes of these symptoms before making a positive diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Another reason is that at this time there are no actual diagnostic laboratory tests for fibromyalgia syndrome alone; standard laboratory tests fail to reveal a physiologic reason for the pain that those subject to fibromyalgia feel. Because there is no commonly accepted, unbiased test for fibromyalgia, some doctors unfortunately might come to the conclusion that a patient’s pain is not in fact real, some believe it is all in the patient’s head, or the doctor might tell the patient that there is little that they can do to help them.
Reaching a diagnosis for fibromyalgia syndrome
A physician that is familiar with fibromyalgia could make an educated conclusion based on the criteria that is supported by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) this criteria is:
- A history of pain that is widespread
- Extensive pain that persists longer than 3 months
- The presence of long term tenderness
Note that with this specific criterion that pain is considered to be widespread when it affects each of the four quadrants of the body. This means that it must be felt on both the left and right sides of the body as well as above and below the waist. The American College of Rheumatology has also selected 18 sites on the body as the possible tender points or trigger points for fibromyalgia. However for an individual to actually meet the ACR’s strict criteria for a definite fibromyalgia diagnosis, a person must have 11 or more tender points, though normally those with fibromyalgia will not always be this tender; especially of the male gender. Males tend to have much fewer diagnoses and fewer symptoms appearing as often as females do. These tender points or trigger points are at both sides of:
- The base of the skull on either side of the head
- Lower neck in the front on both sides
- The neck and shoulder area on the back
- The edge of the upper breast
- The upper inner shoulder on both sides
- Below the side bone at the elbow on the right as well as the left
- The upper outer buttock on the left as well as the right
- On both sides of the hipbone
- Just above the knee on the inside portion
Individuals who have fibromyalgia without a doubt can of course even feel the pain at other sites as well, however those 18 standard potential sites on the body are typically the criteria used in the classification process of diagnosing fibromyalgia syndrome established by the American Rheumatology College.
Risk factors of fibromyalgia
The actual cause for fibromyalgia is still unknown. However some of the reported hypothesis for origins or risk factors of fibromyalgia include:
- Physical and/or emotional trauma
- An infection similar to a virus
- Abnormal pain response which means that the regions in the brain that route the pain could respond in a different way