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Those of us who live with fibromyalgia (FM) have experienced a battery of tests, often only to be told they are negative. Because of this, we may dismiss new symptoms as more of the same. But, could our complacency prevent us from sharing important information? Shouldn't we take an active role in our care. Read more about how to see symptoms as indicators and how to we can relate our experiences to our physician in a manner we all understand? Find our how in an article I wrote for ProHealth.
Talking to Our Doctor
Symptoms must be considered chronic, generally lasting for more than three months.
Recurring Primary Characteristics
Most agree there are four recurring characteristics:
Primary means predominate and fixed, but no one should dismiss other patient complaints simply because the patient has fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia comorbid disorders are those disorders that co-occur more frequently with fibromyalgia than with other diseases or syndromes. The following is a compilation from the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health and the American College of Rheumatology. (Accessed, April 22, 2017)
Comorbid disorders or signs:
*Denotes conditions that could be related to myofascial pain syndrome and contribute to fibromyalgia symptoms. Treatments for MPS are not at all the same as those for fibromyalgia.
Though there are studies that have varying hypothesis, some proven, some not, there are factors in diagnosing fibromyalgia that are quite consistent. Because of this, fibromyalgia should NOT be a diagnosis of last resort. You can read more in my article for ProHealth, Criteria and Chaos: Diagnosing Fibromyalgia , which will be released for "fibromyalgia awareness" May 2017.
Diagnosing Fibromyalgia for Now
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), approximately two percent of the US population is affected by fibromyalgia and the ratio of women to men is 7:1, and is accompanied by other symptoms and painful disorders.
Other Helpful Links
Fibromyalgia Coalition International
International Myopain Society (IMS)
ME/CFS/FM Support Association (Australia)
European Network of Fibromyalgia Associations (ENFA)
Association Française du Syndrome de Fatigue Chronique et de Fibromyalgie (France)
Fundación para la Fibromialgia y el Síndrome de Fatiga Crónica (Spain)
Fibromyalgia Association UK (FMA UK)
While myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is a factor to many painful conditions, some believe its presence with fibromyalgia aggravates the centralization of pain in fibromyalgia.
As a patient, author, advocate, RN, educator, and contributor of health education on chronic pain and fibromyalgia, I have concerns that none of the diagnostic criterion addresses evaluation of myofascial trigger points (MTrPs). Rheumatologists are internal medicine physicians and they do not study physical medicine. They cannot be expected to know it all, but my hope would be they understand enough to make a referral to other physicians who know how to treat MPS.
You can learn more about the differences between fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome in a freelance article I wrote for Health Central titled, Fibromyalgia Centralization and Peripheral Myofascial Pain: Interview with Karl Hurst-Wicker, MD.
The Role of Myofascial Pain Syndrome in Fibromyalgia
The FM/a® Test is a proven blood biomarker that confirms fibromyalgia. Click the logo to the left for direct access. For more information and guidance, you can read my blog. Also, see my blog how the FM/a blood test will be used to study genomes (genetics) that could lead to definitive treatments. Here is a direct link to the press release.