Fibromyalgia Glossary: Part 4

There's a lot of medical terminology used in relation to the diagnosis and treatment of fibromyalgia. Educating yourself is one of the keys to getting a proper diagnosis and correct treatment, so it's important to know what the doctors are talking about.

This is Part Four of a six-part glossary that gives a plain-English overview of some of the most common terms you might come across during your fibro research or when talking to doctors.

Krupp Scale. A common tool used to determine the level of fatigue experienced by those with a variety of different diseases and syndromes, including fibromyalgia. It's also called the Fatigue Severity Scale or FSS. The Krupp scale includes a list of nine statements where you self-rate your agreement based on your experiences on a level of one to seven. Then the final scores are added. Generally a score of 36 or higher means that you may have fatigue concerns and should see a doctor for a medical evaluation.

LDAS. An acronym that stands for Low Disease Activity State. There's not much to explain with this one. It's exactly as it sounds; a period during fibromyalgia when you're symptom or near symptom free

Likert Scale. Here's another diagnostic tool you might come across when seeking treatment for fibromyalgia. It describes the questionnaire style more than it describes a specific type of questionnaire.

A variety of questionnaires can use the Likert Scale. It's a one-dimensional scale where you would choose one option the most closely represents your opinion of the question. There are typically four to seven response choices, with five being average. The most common response choices in a traditional Likert Scale are:

· 1 - Strongly disagree

· 2 - Disagree

· 3 - Not sure

· 4 - Agree

· 5 - Strongly agree

When diagnosing and treating fibromyalgia, Likert-type Scales might be used to narrow down symptoms. An example of a question that might use a Likert-type scale is: I feel pain in my hips when I walk up the stairs. Possible response choices would be:

· Never

· Infrequently

· Sometimes

· Frequently

· Always

MAF Index. This is another instrument used to assess fatigue. It' used to measure the severity of fatigue, the distress it causes you, how the fatigue interferes with your daily life, and how frequently you experience it. The MAF Index is sometimes referred to by its full name: the Multidimensional Assessment of Fatigue Index. The American College of Rheumatology says that the original purpose of the test when it was created in 1991 was to evaluate the fatigue patients with rheumatoid arthritis experienced. It now is also used as a fatigue-assessment tool for those with other conditions such as multiple sclerosis, HIV, some cancers, and of course, fibromyalgia.

The MAF Index is a 16 item scale. If you take one, you'll be asked to rate the impact fatigue had on your life over the past week. Each response receives a numerical value. Final scores can range from between one (no fatigue) and 50 (severe fatigue). The questionnaire can be self-administered and takes less than 10 minutes to complete.

Multi-disciplinary. This is the ideal type of treatment method for fibromyalgia. It involves having a say in your own treatment as well as receiving care from a variety of health professionals

Myofascial Pain Syndrome. This is a condition that causes pain similar to fibromyalgia. The difference between fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome is that fibromyalgia pain is widespread and myofascial pain is experienced only in one region of the body. It's possible to have fibromyalgia and myofascial pain at the same time. Click here to find out more about myofascial trigger points.


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