How is Fibromyalgia Diagnosed?

Fibromyalgia is not new, but for most of the last century it was difficult to diagnose.  Part of the problem has been that the condition could not be identified in the standard laboratory tests or xrays. Moreover, many of its signs and symptoms are found in other conditions as well – especially in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Two Canadian doctors developed a way of diagnosing fibromyalgia in the 1970s and in 1990 an international committee published requirements for diagnosis that are now widely accepted. Once other medical conditions have been ruled out through tests and the patient’s history, diagnosis depends on two main symptoms:

  • Pain in all four quadrants of the body for at least three months.
  • Pain in at least 11 out of 18 tender point sites when they are pressed. The "tender points", or spots of extreme tenderness, are rarely noticed by the patient until they are pressed.


The actual cause of Fibromyalgia has not yet been found, however over the past several years research has produced some insights into this puzzling condition. For instance, it has been known that most people with Fibromyalgia are drprived of deep restorative sleep.

How quickly you gain a diagnosis unfortunately depends how well your medical professional understands Fibromyalgia.   If all tests come back negative regarding other possible causes, your best and sometimes quickest option would be to ask for a referral to a rheumatologist or neurologist who is knowledgeable about the symptoms and effects of fibromyalgia.   A referral a Pain Relief Clinic Consultant may also be useful in obtaining a diagnosis if your symptoms possibly fit those of this condition.

DISCLAIMER:   Please bear in mind that any views expressed in articles, recommended literature or information in this web site or any other literature are for guidance purposes only.  Any treatments or medication information cannot be guaranteed to work for any one individual and are suggestions only.