Recognizing Fibromyalgia Symptoms

\"It\'s All in Your Head:\" Fibro Symptoms

Until about 30 years ago, fibromyalgia went mostly unrecognized and certainly undiagnosed. The chronic muscle pain and fatigue that characterized this mysterious ailment drove people, mostly women, to the doctor. Doctors often could not find a concrete physiological cause for the symptoms since all of the diagnostic tests appeared normal and the symptoms seemed to be without explanation. The result was that the patient was frequently told, \"It\'s all in your head.\"

Thankfully, there has been a lot of research since the time fibromyalgia first began showing up and the research has been ongoing. Better physiological and biological evidence for the disease is being gathered and as a result, more is being done to develop strategies for treatment that work.

A Difficult Syndrome to Diagnose

The symptoms of fibromyalgia often overlap with other autoimmune diseases and musculoskeletal conditions which makes it difficult to diagnose. Although there are some defining symptoms, there are myriad others that appear in combination with the basic symptoms. In many cases, clearly diagnosing fibromyalgia can take up to five years because of the confusing overlap of symptoms.

Criteria for Diagnosis of FM

In 1990, The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) listed two primary criteria for classifying fibromyalgia.

· A history of widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body for a period of three months at least. This means the pain must be evident in both right and left sides and both above and below the waist.

· Upon physical examination there must be the presence of pain in 11 of the 18 tender points when touched or pressed with force amounting to the equivalent of nine pounds or four kilograms.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the 18 tender points of fibromyalgia occur at nine bilateral muscle locations:

· Front neck area (low cervical region)

· Front chest area (second rib)

· Back of the neck (occiput)

· Back shoulder area (trapezius muscle)

· Shoulder blade area (supraspinatus muscle)

· Elbow area (lateral epicondyle)

· Rear End (gluteal)

· Rear hip (greater trochanter)

· Knee area (knee)

Confirmed local regional pain in 11 of these 18 points is one of the main diagnostic evidences of fibromyalgia (FM).

There has been recent data that shows FM sufferers may also have increased sensitivity to pain throughout their bodies, whether it moves around or is localized. Many experts agree that FM results from malfunction in the central nervous system and that fibromyalgia may be a response to stress and psycho-behavioral factors. Although the primary target of FM seems to be women of childbearing age, there are many men, older people, children, and teens who deal with it as well.

Table of Contents
1. Recognize Fibro Symptoms
2. Symptoms you won't recognize
 
 
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d12trouble
First I do not want to seem as I discount anyones pain or diagnose. For the past nine months I have had pain in my smaller joints. My primary care doctor told me to lose weight and control my surgars and gave me gabapentin. I lost 60 pounds, dropped my A1Cs from 8.5 to 6.5. I still continued to have pain and stiffness. I tried evrything from different NSAIDS, heat, icing, stetching, topical pain cream, water exercising, bracing, wax therapy and each seemed to help a little. I saw a RA doctor who did not give me the time of day. It seemed as I was wasting her time. My primary care doctor did a RA factor which came a little high at 22. I have now seen a pain specialist who said I should find another RA doctor and gave me pain medication. I tried explaining I do not want to me on it for too long. I rather try to figure out why my own body is hurting than trying to mask the pain. After seeing another RA doctor he is running more of a lab panel and told he he believes I do not have RA but fibro instead. I honestly would not like either but I also do not want him to seem as he has given up already. Any advice would be great. I just would like not to have to go to many doctor since I know they would judge or wonder why I would keep looking for answers. Like I said before I do not discredit fibromyalgia, i just do not want the possibility of missing something. Any of your suggestions would be great. Thanks in advance.
fyrefly58
I have fibromyalgia, cfs, thyroid complaint and crohn's disease, consequently I've spent time with my doctor[s]. I think it's very important that patients with fibro and any other complaint take courage. Don't be afraid to put gentle pressure on your doctor in the nicest possible way of colurse and don't be 'fobbed off'. Here in the UK most doctor's just pass you on to the rheumatologist because they really haven't got a clue. Appointments can be 12 weeks wait and this is an anxious time. Always make sure you take someone with you, my husband always fills in the gaps for the doctor because short term memory can be a problem. I write down everything I want to say or ask for the same reasons.If you can find a doctor who has a little more knowledge of the condition then of course this can be very helpful. Above all, don't be afraid to ask questions. As a patient you will find that over a period of time you become very knowledgeable about your condition and perhaps know more about your illness than the doctor :)
navydad
I;m sure the illness is real,, but I begin to wonder how many walked out of a doctors office feeling like there has to be something else going on,, only to find later on that they had a autoimmune disease,, or something more serious that was overlooked,, now it seems that doctors now can just toss out the fibro tag when in fact they overlooked something more sinister,,