Fibromyalgia Diagnostic Criteria

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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.

Fibromyalgia Diagnostic Criteria #Fibromyalgia #BeingFibroMom
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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.



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Fibromyalgia Diagnostic Criteria #Fibromyalgia #BeingFibroMom
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created by Brandi Clevinger using the image from © Kurhan at


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Hi, I’m Brandi, the writer and creator of Being Fibro Mom and My Fibro Journal. Aside from my work on Being Fibro Mom, I run a group called Fibro Parenting on Facebook. I've been writing for the Fibromyalgia Magazine since 2016 and recently became the Secretary and Fibro & Families program director for International Support Fibromyalgia Network. Facebook-+-Twitter-+-Instagram

7 thoughts on “Fibromyalgia Diagnostic Criteria

  • September 15, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Thanks for linking up the the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party! Your post has been pinned to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Board.

    I never really knew what fibromyalgia was. Thank you for sharing.

    • September 15, 2014 at 10:50 am

      A lot of people do not, and I hope to be one of the people that changes it. Now you are one more person that knows. Thank you!

  • September 18, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    I can’t imagine suffering with chronic pain. such a terrible disease!

    • September 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm

      Yes, it is. And each time my husband discovers a ‘new’ ailment of fibromyalgia, he is astonished. I am, too, for the most part. Thank you for reading!

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  • April 7, 2015 at 4:06 am

    So glad I came across your blog! I didn’t realise there was new diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia.

    I’ve met criteria for fibromyalgia for years but my rheumatologist hasn’t given me a diagnosis. I asked her about it and essentially the issue is that I have symptoms and signs of a spondyloarthropathy and lupus, but don’t fit into any of the boxes properly. She’s being cautions, but it’s frustrating to be unwell and not have any real explanation to give people!

    • April 7, 2015 at 10:54 am

      I know it’s frustrating, but it’s good that your doctor is taking time with a diagnosis. Many times people are misdiagnosed with fibromyalgia when they are more serious issues. I hope you get a diagnosis soon so that you can be on the road to healing soon. Thank you for stopping by! Please let me know if you have any questions.


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