• Diagnosis of Fibromyalgia

    Fibromyalgia can be difficult to diagnose. Many of the symptoms are similar to other disorders. A physical exam will be done. Your doctor will discuss your symptoms and check for tender (trigger) points to confirm the diagnosis. Tender points are areas of pain throughout your body. Symptoms of chronic and widespread pain must be present for over three months.
    Testing for Tender (“Trigger”) Points —According to criteria established by the American College of Rheumatology, there are 18 specific tender points around the body that are potentially painful when palpated in people with fibromyalgia. Most healthy people have only three tender points. These points are located around the neck, shoulder, chest, hip, knee, and elbow regions.
    A diagnosis of fibromyalgia is usually made if 11 of these 18 points result in pain when palpated.
    Blood Tests —Blood tests cannot identify fibromyalgia. However, your doctor may order these tests to rule out other illnesses that have similar symptoms, such as lupus , Lyme disease , rheumatoid arthritis , and other musculoskeletal disorders.


    Fibromyalgia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed . Updated August 10, 2012. Accessed October 11, 2012.

    Fibromyalgia. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Fibromyalgia/fibromyalgia%5Fff.asp . Updated July 2011. Accessed October 11, 2012.

    Wierville L. Fibromyalgia: diagnosing and managing a complex syndrome. J Am Acad Nurse Pract . 2012;24(4):184-92.

    Revision Information

  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.