Getting Fibromyalgia Diagnosed
Getting Fibromyalgia diagnosed can be frustrating. There isn’t a blood test, an x-ray or CT scan that a doctor can perform.There is nothing that says definitively that you have Fibromyalgia.
When you are exhausted, in pain, and cannot focus, your overall quality of life has been disrupted. This is the time to find a doctor. Your first resource may be your family doctor.
If your family doctor can get you a referral to a rheumatologist or a list of rheumatologists you can begin searching for one that has experience with Fibromyalgia. Ask a family friend or utilize your insurance company’s doctor database to search for a doctor that lists Fibromyalgia as one of his or her specialties.
- Pain above and below the body
- Pain on the right and the left side of the body
- Pain lasting on average of at least three months
- Allodynia: feeling pain on contact when others would not normally feel pain
- Hyperalgesia: feeling more pain than is normal from painful contact
The American College of Rheumatology has guidelines for diagnosing Fibromyalgia. The patient should have pain in four quadrants of the body for at least 3 months. There should be pain in 11 of 18 tender points on the body. These tender points should not be confused with trigger points.
Finding A Doctor
Before you make the appointment, it is important to find out if the doctor has experience with Fibromyalgia. If not, or if he indicates he does not believe in fibro, find another doctor rather than waste any more time working on a diagnosis with someone unable or unwilling to help you. Here is an article from The Arthritis Foundation about Doctor/Patient relationships that may help you understand a doctor’s role in your care.
*There was a time when doctors did not believe in Fibromyalgia. Some still do not. There are also those that consider Fibro to be a “wastebasket” diagnosis. A wastebasket diagnosis is a diagnosis that is given when there is an unidentifiable but obvious problem with the patient and a diagnosis of some sort will ease an anxious patient that wants a label. Sometimes a diagnosis will help get past the red tape so that treatment can be provided (such as pain management or physical therapy).
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