Things we know about Fibromyalgia
In the past, doctors would check 18 specific points on a person’s body to see how many of them were painful when pressed firmly. Newer guidelines from the American College of Rheumatology don’t require a tender point exam.
Instead, the main factor needed for a fibromyalgia diagnosis is widespread pain throughout your body for at least three months.
- To meet the criteria, you must have pain in at least four of these five areas:
- Left upper region, including shoulder, arm or jaw
- Right upper region, including shoulder, arm or jaw
- Left lower region, including hip, buttock or leg
- Right lower region, including hip, buttock or leg
- Axial region, which includes neck, back, chest or abdomen
Your doctor may want to rule out other conditions that may have similar symptoms. Blood tests may include:
- Complete blood count
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
- Cyclic citrullinated peptide test
- Rheumatoid factor
- Thyroid function tests
- Anti-nuclear antibody
- Celiac serology
- Vitamin D
If there’s a chance that you may be suffering from sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend an overnight sleep study.
In general, treatments for fibromyalgia include both medication and self-care strategies. The emphasis is on minimizing symptoms and improving general health. No one treatment works for all
symptoms, but trying a variety of treatment strategies can have a cumulative effect.