What Happens When You Have Fibromyalgia?
Doctors follow these guidelines that include the patient having experienced widespread pain
for at least 3 months with a minimum of eleven locations on the body that can be described as being tender to the
touch, or painful on firm pressure.
If you suspect that you may have fibromyalgia because of symptoms such as fatigue, and pain in your joints,
muscles and tendons what you need is a diagnosis from your doctor.
Unfortunately there is no magic test that will determine if you have fibromyalgia or not.
The diagnosis is more of ruling out other diseases and conditions that have the same or similar symptoms.
Your doctor may order several medical tests including blood, urine and x-rays in order to rule out other
diseases or conditions such as lupus, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
To help doctors make a diagnosis, the American College of Rheumatology established classification guidelines for
Doctors follow these guidelines that include the patient having experienced widespread pain for at least 3
months with a minimum of eleven locations on the body that can be described as being tender to the touch, or
painful on firm pressure.
To determine this, your doctor will touch various points on your head, upper body or joints on your body.
All doctors do not always agree upon this classification, however. Some doctors believe that individuals can
have fibromyalgia even if they have less than 11 points on their body that are tender to the touch or painful
Then, there are those doctors who question how reliable the "points on the body" are that are used in the
classification of fibromyalgia.
Most doctors will diagnose based on symptoms, duration of symptoms and on whether or not the patient fits the
classification for any other condition or disease. Once the diagnosis is made, it is time for treatment.
The treatment plan for fibromyalgia:
Doctors will combine both self-care and medications in order to treat those with fibromyalgia. The goal for
treatment is to decrease the effect of symptoms and also to improve the health of the individual.
Medications used to treat fibromyalgia symptoms such as the pain, fatigue and to help improve sleep. Medications
such as analgesics for pain including acetaminophen, which will take care of the pain as well as any stiffness, may
Other pain relievers that may be given are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or naproxen sodium.
To treat depression the doctor may prescribe antidepressant medications like amitriptyline, nortriptyline,
doxepin, fluoxetine, amitriptyline, sertraline or paroxetine.
Your doctor may also prescribe muscle relaxants to help treat the pain felt in muscles or muscle spasms.
Your doctor such as pregabalin may also prescribe an anti-seizure medication used to reduce pain and also to
A study showed that half of those treated with pregabalin had a reduction in symptoms by 30%. Unfortunately
there are side effects to taking pregabalin such as weight gain, difficulty concentrating, having blurred vision,
dry mouth or a swelling in the hands or feet.
Cognitive behavior therapy that teaches relaxation techniques, and biofeedback can also help reduce pain and
The treatment plan can be a combination of any of the above treatments depending on which works best for the