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Fibromyalgia Tests and Diagnosis

If you’re experiencing fibromyalgia symptoms, the expert team at Banner Health is here to help ensure you get the correct diagnosis. Contact us to schedule an appointment anytime.

How Is Fibromyalgia Diagnosed? 

Fibromyalgia cannot be diagnosed through a simple and straightforward test as some other ailments can. The underlying cause of fibromyalgia is inflammation in the brain that leads to complications with the pain nerves and how the brain processes pain. This means that confirming fibromyalgia must be confirmed through specific groups of symptoms.

If you have the symptom criteria associated with fibromyalgia, your doctor may order blood tests to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms. Blood tests should include:

  • Blood count
  • Red blood cell testing
  • Thyroid testing
  • Vitamin D testing 

Banner Health patients are also given physical exams of muscles and joints, as well as neurological exams to eliminate the presence of other possible conditions. 

Understanding Fibromyalgia “Tender Points”

Fibromyalgia causes both widespread pain and additional pain in specific areas of the body commonly referred to as “tender points.” Because these areas are usually around the joints, fibromyalgia can be confused with rheumatoid arthritis. In order to identify fibromyalgia, medical professionals now use specific symptom criteria to confirm a diagnosis. The criteria includes:

  • Chronic widespread pain
  • Additional symptoms as a result of this pain including fatigue, flu-like symptoms and difficulty concentrating 
  • The absence of another cause of the pain   

Fibromyalgia often causes additional health problems including:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Headaches
  • Jaw pain and stiffness
  • Depression, anxiety and mood issues

What’s the Correlation Between Fibromyalgia and Sleep?

Another hallmark of fibromyalgia is difficulties with healthy sleep habits. Even if those suffering from fibromyalgia have slept for 7-8 hours, they often wake up extremely tired. Difficulties with sleep, along with other common symptoms can also help to confirm a diagnosis. 

Identifying Fibromyalgia Through Triggers

For both identification purposes as well as treatment options it is important to understand the triggers that may cause a flare-up in fibromyalgia. Common triggers include:

  • Stress, both physical and emotional
  • Lack of sleep
  • Changes in temperature and weather
  • Menstrual cycle
  • Illness or injury

Be sure to talk with your doctor about any symptoms you may be experiencing or if you have any questions about getting tested for fibromyalgia.