Trying to diagnose fibromyalgia is a difficult task. The condition exhibits general symptoms like widespread pain, fatigue, and brain fog.
These symptoms are common in several other ailments. Even the symptom of fibromyalgia itself varies from person to person.
If your body is indicating some evident signs of fibromyalgia, rush to your general practitioner to clear the doubts.
There are no specified tests for fibromyalgia. Keeping in view the symptoms and the level of severity, your physician would recommend certain tests.
4 Steps To Diagnose Fibromyalgia
Here are the steps necessary to diagnose fibromyalgia:
1. Dismiss Other Conditions
As said earlier, many diseases share common signs with fibromyalgia. For instance, joint inflammation could be the result of arthritis.
The first step toward successful diagnosis is ruling out other possibilities. The fibro symptoms could also be attributed to other conditions such as:
- Rheumatoid arthritis;
- Multiple sclerosis;
- Chronic fatigue syndrome;
- Polymyalgia rheumatic;
- Ankylosing spondylitis.
In some cases, patients may suffer from other illnesses along with fibro. Besides, the doctor might check out for tender points or trace out the patient’s widespread pain record of three months.
Mostly fibro patients feel pain in these areas:
- Upper body parts on both sides (jaw, shoulder, arms);
- Lower body parts on both sides ( hips, leg, buttocks);
- Central body parts ( neck, chest, abdomen, back).
Pain is the worst enemy that keeps tormenting fibro patients. If you are sick of the constant pain, try out PEMF therapy. Visit the healthyline outlet to get the best suitable device to help in pain management.
To eliminate the possibility of other ailments, your body would require a complete follow-up, including:
- Urine tests;
- Blood test;
- Blood count;
- X-rays and in-depth scans;
- Celiac serology;
- Rheumatoid factor;
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate;
- Thyroid function tests;
- Antinuclear antibody;
- Vitamin D;
- Cyclic citrullinated test.
There is no need to conduct the entire list of tests. Your doctor might suggest a few out of these, depending on your situation and problem areas.
2. Counting Tender Points To Diagnose Fibromyalgia
Previously, the GP used to count the tender points in the body to diagnose fibro. The tender points are specific points that are extremely sensitive to pain and other stimuli.
Monitoring and examining the points would determine the patient’s condition whether improving or not.
Nowadays, counting tender points is not the preferred diagnosis method. About fifty percent of the fibro patients showed no particular relevance to these points.
Instead, the phenomenon of whole-body pain was more common. Some physicians still consider counting tender points, although it is not a standard method.
3. Fibromyalgia Testing Through Scoring Log
When the above procedures fail to sort out the reasons for illness, your GP further investigates the pain areas and to what extent the symptoms are interfering with your quality of life.
For this, they can apply the widespread pain index WPI method. They track your pain record of the previous week and rank the symptoms somewhere between 0 and 19 score.
After that, they can measure major signs on the symptom severity scale SS.
Other major indicators are fatigue, cognitive difficulty, and feeling tired after waking up. The symptoms are ranked between 0 and 3, with an increasing severity level.
The score is also affected by the number of discomforting sensations such as depression, dizziness, irritable bowel syndrome, numbness, or others.
There are zero scores for no other symptoms and 3 scores for many symptoms. The SS scores will add up and lie between 0 and 12.
These scores help to determine whether you are a fibro sufferer or not through the following criterion:
- The score is equal to or greater than 7, and the SS score is equal to or greater than 5;
- The WPI score lies within 3 to 6, and the SS score is equal to or greater than 9;
- Your symptoms have been persistent for the previous three months;
- You are not suffering from any other condition with similar symptoms.
4. Fibromyalgia Imaging Testing
X-rays cannot locate fibro. However, functional brain imaging could identify exceptional pain processing in specific brain areas.
Similarly, through magnetic resonance spectroscopy, the researchers noticed an enhanced neurotransmitter activity in specific brain areas of fibro patients.
A right diagnosis is half the cure. The next step is to devise a plan for coping with the illness.
The disease raises certain health concerns. The physicians cannot rely on one method but have to employ multiple testing methods to address the health concerns raised due to fibromyalgia.