6 doctors weighed in:

How can someone tell if they have fibromyalgia?

6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Ronald Krauser
Internal Medicine - Rheumatology
3 doctors agree

In brief: Read details below

Fibromyalgia is characterized by generalized pain, fatigue, stiffness and sleep disruption.
Most have trigger point tenderness on exam. See a rheumatologist to be sure as there are several effective treatments.

In brief: Read details below

Fibromyalgia is characterized by generalized pain, fatigue, stiffness and sleep disruption.
Most have trigger point tenderness on exam. See a rheumatologist to be sure as there are several effective treatments.
Dr. Ronald Krauser
Dr. Ronald Krauser
Thank
2 comments
Dr. Laurence Badgley
The unifying genetic relationship in fibromyalgia is probably Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (JHS), a known genetic condition.  I have noted that a good portion of female fibromyalgia sufferers satisfy the Bristol Criteria for JHS, and are able to oppose thumb to lateral radial skin, hyperextended elbows and knees, and can place their palms on the floor with knees locked.  Most could put their feet behind their head and back bridge as youngsters and many can do so as adults.  JHS is a disorder with a spectrum of penetrance; with Marfans and Ehlers-Danlos at the clinical severity end of the spectrum.  My speculation is that the trait is conserved in females because it increases pelvic joint (SIJ and symphysis pubis) flexibility during childbirth.  Many of my patients with fibromyalgia and subclinical JHS delivered their fourth or fifth child in minutes rather than hours.  I speculate that repetitive childbirth, in conjunction with the hormone Relaxin, progressively loosens pelvic ligaments.  This functionality would seem to favor infant survivability.  To my mind fibromyalgia results from the effects of a loose ligament-skeletal system attempting to maintain a medial center of gravity via chronic muscle spasm leading to widespread ischemic trigger points (after the work of Shah at NIH).
Dr. Ronald Krauser
The above comment by Dr. Badgley is unsubstantiated, misleading and does a disservice to every patient with FM. There is absolutely no scientific data to support any of his theories.
Dr. Andrew Berry
Clinical Psychology
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Fibromyalgia

Have a full workup from your general care practitioner to determine if fibromyalgia is the correct diagnosis.
If so, pain management, preferably with as few pills as possible is of utmost importance. Here is the website of the American Academy of Pain Management: http://www.aapainmanage.org/

In brief: Fibromyalgia

Have a full workup from your general care practitioner to determine if fibromyalgia is the correct diagnosis.
If so, pain management, preferably with as few pills as possible is of utmost importance. Here is the website of the American Academy of Pain Management: http://www.aapainmanage.org/
Dr. Andrew Berry
Dr. Andrew Berry
Thank
Dr. Laurence Badgley
General Practice

In brief: Blood test?

Recently, medical researchers have announced that they have discovered a blood test that is highly specific for fibromyalgia (fm).
The test purports to relate imbalance of cytokines to fm, & the researchers consider fm an immune system disorder. However, other researchers have found cytokine imbalances in persons with sleep disorders without fm. Fm sufferers have sleep disorders. Who knows?

In brief: Blood test?

Recently, medical researchers have announced that they have discovered a blood test that is highly specific for fibromyalgia (fm).
The test purports to relate imbalance of cytokines to fm, & the researchers consider fm an immune system disorder. However, other researchers have found cytokine imbalances in persons with sleep disorders without fm. Fm sufferers have sleep disorders. Who knows?
Dr. Laurence Badgley
Dr. Laurence Badgley
Thank
2 comments
Dr. Ronald Krauser
The data behind this "test" has been independently analyzed and at least one author has condemned it as "junk." It is extremely premature to hold this out as hope when its value is far from proven and it is not commercially available.
Dr. Laurence Badgley
The reason for a "spectrum of disorder" for fibromyalgia is that the cause, pelvic girdle instability due to pelvic ligament laxity, manifests differently in individuals & genders.  The body musculoskeletal tower is constantly stressed by gravity & a body tilted above an unstable pelvis incurs widely ranging chronic muscle spasm leading to varying densities of painful trigger points. The delicate female pelvis is more easily injured & women have an higher incidence of Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (inherited trait) that contributes to pelvis instability.  Female pelvices are subject to varying intensities of permanent injury related to frequency of childbirth.  In both sexes, severity of symptoms is a function of musculoskeletal deconditioning & upper body mass borne by an unstable pelvis.  On a Pain Board at Quora.com a medical researcher discusses these dynamics, which are the true cause of fibromyalgia. 
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