Fibromyalgia is known as an invisible illness because there are no physical indications of the chronic illness. People with fibromyalgia can experience a wide range of symptoms in varying degrees; however, despite the severity of the pain, there is no one test for fibromyalgia. The way to diagnosis the illness is by using the fibromyalgia diagnostic criteria.
The Old Diagnostic Criteria
In 1990, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) established the diagnostic criteria as having the following points:
- Widespread body pain in four quadrants of the body for at least three months, and
- pain in a minimum of 11 out of 18 tender points.
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What is the new fibromyalgia diagnostic criteria?
In 2010, the ACR established the new fibromyalgia diagnostic criteria as having the following points:
- no longer use tender points
- pain is widespread
- accompanying symptoms such as fatigue, sleep problems, and not being able to think clearly
- physical and interview examinations using the widespread pain index (WPI) and severity scale (SS)
- use of the WPI and SS for cognitive symptoms
- use of a 42 question survey
The combination of the above fibromyalgia diagnostic criteria is used to determine a fibromyalgia diagnosis. Before making a fibromyalgia diagnosis, your physician should first rule out other possibilities.
For more information about fibromyalgia, its symptoms, and treatments, please visit my Fibromyalgia page.