Process of Elimination
There's currently no specific laboratory test that provides a definitive fibromyalgia diagnosis. However, there are a few techniques and specific
fibromyalgia tender points
located in different areas of the body that help some doctors narrow their search for an answer.
Most experts will use some type of fibromyalgia symptoms checklist, along with a body mapping technique which allows them to examine the joints and muscle tissue located around your body. This enables them to examine these tender points, and also feel areas of swollen tissue caused by inflammation or deposits.
There's also a new technique being introduced utilizing a pain index and symptom diagnosis criteria.
Symptoms of this chronic illness can be widespread, or remain in one isolated area of the body for quite some time. They mimic other illnesses which force doctors to implement a process of elimination. This is why diagnosing fibromyalgia is such a time consuming process.
In addition, lab results come back negative which makes it even more difficult to solidify a diagnosis. This whole process can take months if not years before they finally establish the cause of your
After the lists of potential
are checked off, and many exhausting trips to the office bear no results, doctors finally give the fibromyalgia diagnosis to their patients.
Someone Who Knows Firsthand
My mother suffered for years with bladder infections and chronic joint pain. She was eventually diagnosed with bursitis,
and was prescribed antibiotics and anti inflammatory medications to reduce the pain in her joints. This of course provided only temporary relief and the next office visit would soon follow.
I was diagnosed with a handful of things ranging from muscle strains, depression and chronic fatigue, but never received a solid answer as to why I was experiencing these horrible symptoms. Going through this frustrating process finally made me realize how misunderstood this illness really was.
Finding a doctor that was not only familiar with fibromyalgia, but suffered with it himself, finally helped me obtain a solid diagnosis. It was a real turning point for me, and gave me some needed clarity.
Doctors who specialize in fibromyalgia make sure that their patients have gone through extensive testing such as basic blood work, a thyroid test and other diagnostic procedures to rule out any obvious issues. X-rays or ultrasounds may also be required to help them visually eliminate any other immediate causes. They're very familiar with the complex symptoms associated with fibromyalgia and can help you obtain an accurate diagnosis.
There's a list of valuable resources to help you find a specialist near you located on the
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