How to Test Yourself for Fibromyalgia

How to Test Yourself for Fibromyalgia

By: Dr Alex Robber

Symptoms of fibromyalgia include severe body pain, tiredness, bad sleep and mood issues. All these symptoms are, however, similar to many other conditions. And since symptoms of fibromyalgia may occur alone or in combination with other conditions, it can take time to figure out which symptom is triggered by what issue.

Fibromyalgia symptoms will come and go over time, to make it even more confusing. But it can take a long time to go from signs of fibromyalgia to a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Only a doctor can diagnose fibromyalgia correctly but there are several measures you can take to determine your own risk of fibromyalgia.

1. Keep a daily log

Keep a record of how much, how much, and where you hurt. Note whether there are any things that directly cause the pain or if it’s a persistent, widespread hurt.

2. Severe fatigue for last three months

Wonder if you suffer from CFS or fibromyalgia? You may have chronic fatigue syndrome and/or fibromyalgia if you have experienced extreme fatigue or widespread pain that lasts for more than three months without an apparent cause, and if you still have insomnia.

3. Measure your progress over time

Look back weekly and monthly into your file. To match the two criteria for diagnosing fibromyalgia to the first of the American College of Rheumatology, you must have felt widespread pain for at least three months. You certainly don’t need a daily pain log to know you’ve been suffering for a long time, but if you don’t know how regular or intense the pain has been, it provides a way to document that, and helps you to look back through time and assess your progress.

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4. Apply pressure on the tender points

Apply pressure with your thumb pad to the fibromyalgia-related 18 “tender areas” For a link to maps of those points see Resources. Keep the pressure for four seconds, then measure the pain associated with the pressure on a scale from zero to 10, where zero does not signify any pain at all and 10 is the worst pain you have ever experienced. If you have encountered pain in at least 11 of the 18 tender points assessed, you meet the second of two criteria for fibromyalgia; for further diagnosis and care you should see a medical professional;

5. No specific test for fibromyalgia

A simple laboratory test can’t easily confirm or rule out fibromyalgia. Your doctor will not be able to detect it in the blood or see it on an X-ray. Rather, it appears that fibromyalgia is due to changes in how pain signals are processed by the brain and the spinal cord. Since there is no fibromyalgia test, your doctor may just need to rely on your symptom group to make a diagnosis.

6. Pain when pressure is applied

Pain Do you feel a constant dull pain that seems to originate in your muscles? (This pain arises on both sides of the body, above and below the waist.) Do you feel discomfort when the pressure is applied to the following tender points: * back of the head* between the shoulder blades* front of the neck* upper chest* upper elbows* upper hips* inner knees Are you rigid when you wake in the morning? Did you ever experience a sense of tingling or numbness in your hands and feet?

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7. Medical History

Would you have a history of something that could explain your recent symptoms: a medical condition, a shift in life or a new stressor? A psychiatric condition with psychotic characteristics, bipolar affective disorder, schizophrenia, organic dementia, anorexia or bulimia nervosa, alcohol or drug abuse within 2 years of the initial symptoms appearing

8. Shoulder pain

Besides the neck and upper back regions, pain in the shoulders may clearly suggest fibromyalgia when tender points are placed between the shoulder edge and the neck base. Individuals report body aches and weakness in patients with fibromyalgia which may worsen and become worse at night when some have constant pain all day long.

9. People often wake up tired

People who have fibromyalgia quite frequently wake up exhausted, often after more than eight hours of continuous sleep. They will be left drained by short periods of physical or mental exertion. You could also have short-term memory issues, and the ability to concentrate. If you have these issues, your physician can ask you to rate how badly they affect your daily activities.

Other symptoms

Did you start having at least four of the following over the last three to six months: regular, serious headaches? Recurring or persistent sore throat, Painful lymph node areas under the arm or neck, muscle pain or general muscle irritation, Sleeping issues, problems with cognitive ability such as memory or perception (commonly referred to as “fibro fog”) Pain in various joints at different times as though it were “traveling” from one joint to another (migratory arthralgia).

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Other symptoms can include painful menstrual periods, irritable bowel and bladder, condition of the restless legs, dry eyes and mouth, insomnia, anxiety, tinnitus, dizziness, vision issues, Raynaud’s disease, neurological symptoms and poor coordination.

Knees and feet pain

For those with fibromyalgia the inside of the knee region is a tender spot. Special to this medical condition the tender point can feel like a deep ache. They can also cause burning pain as shooting. Since the joints themselves are not affected, the pain can be confused and sound like it radiates from the joints when it does not actually come from there at all, but it does not necessarily damage the tissues of the body.

You can also feel paraesthesia which is a feeling of numbness, tingling or swelling. Paresthesia can occur in the upper and lower limbs but affects feet in particular. The pain lasts only minutes for some patients with fibromyalgia, but it can last for hours or even days for others.

Reference: via livestrong

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