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Fibromyalgia: Symptoms, Testing, and Diagnosis

ConsultationIf you have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, you may be wondering what lies ahead. Although an estimated 3% to 6% of Americans have Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS), this condition still remains a mystery. This condition is predominant in women and even diagnosing the condition can be complex. According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, it can take some patients up to 4 years to be accurately diagnosed.

What are the symptoms?

  • Muscle pain
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disorders
  • Headaches
  • Cognitive or memory impairment
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Morning stiffness
  • Irritable bowel or gastric distress
  • Numbness and tingling sensations

Correct Diagnosis is Key

Fibromyalgia is typically diagnosed in patients with widespread pain in all 4 quadrants of the body for a minimum of 3 months. The fibromyalgia patient may also have tenderness or pain in at least 11 out of 18 tender points when pressure is applied. These tender points cluster around the neck, shoulder, chest, hip, knee, and elbow regions.

Correct diagnosis of fibromyalgia can be elusive, so if you are diagnosed with the disorder, or suspect that you have it, seek the opinion of a provider who specializes in fibromyalgia. Other conditions may mimic fibromyalgia, such as chronic regional pain, chronic fatigue, and other disorders. Ruling out other disorders first is very important. In addition to clinical evaluation that will assess possible causes of your pain, your doctor may need to order lab tests to determine if you have:

  • Anemia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Lyme Disease
  • Other rheumatic diseases
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Or other disorders that can cause fibromyalgia-like symptoms

If the tests show that you have one of these conditions, treatment will focus on addressing that problem first. If your pain is caused by a muscle or joint condition, chiropractic care may help relieve it more effectively than other therapies.

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