Do you have fibromyalgia?
Maybe you've been to several doctors, trying to find answers. Maybe you've had pain for years, and you're not sure why. Maybe you've been told that you are perfectly healthy, and that perhaps you just need to exercise more, learn how to handle stress, go for counseling. You may think you're fine; after all, you're symptoms seem to come and go, and change. But something keeps nagging at you. You can't stop thinking that there is something wrong. Can all of these weird symptoms somehow be connected? Is my abdominal pain somehow related to my back pain and tension? Does my recurrent sinusitis have anything to do with my TMJ? Do my legs Itch so badly because of allergies?
Maybe you've been to physical therapy, a chiropractor, massage therapy, acupuncture, psychotherapy, other specialists, and haven't seen much improvement. You wonder Am I crazy?
Maybe you've been told that you have irritable bowel syndrome, TMJD, depression, allergies, GERD, Migraines, recurrent sinusitis, or any number of other conditions.
Can this all be in your head? Do you ever wonder if maybe you are a hypochondriac?
If you feel that you may have fibromyalgia, it's important to see your doctor for a diagnosis. Please Do not diagnose yourself. Some of your symptoms could be related to other serious illnesses. It is important to go over all of your symptoms thoroughly with your doctor. I recommend bringing in a list of every symptom you can think of, whether you think it's related or not. Your list of symptoms can help your doctor determine what to do next. You may need a referral to a rheumetologist (room-a-tol-a-jist).
Diagnosing fibromyalgia (FM, FMS) can be difficult. A lot of the symptoms are similar to other conditions, such as, lupus, Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, lyme disease, arthritis, myofascial pain syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, polymyalgia rhuematica, hypothyroidism, or many others.
Diagnosing FMS is mostly ruling out other disorders. Your doctor should take a thorough history, and read over your list of symptoms. You will probably need to have some blood tests, and possibly x-rays, CT scans, or MRI.
Don't be surprised if most or all of your tests come back negative.
You will also receive a tender points check. The doctor will simply press on certain spots and you will report whether or not there is pain.
To be diagnosed with FM, you need to have pain in all four quadrants (above the waist, below the waist, right side, and left side) for at least three months, have 11 or more of 18 tender points, and have other conditions ruled out.
In addition to your list of symptoms, you may want to give your doctor a list of all the medications you have taken in the past, and present, a list of any tests you've had done, and where they were done, and a description of things you have done in the past such as physical therapy, counseling, massage, etc.
Your doctor should listen to you, respect you, address your concerns, and answer your questions. If you need a referral, ask what you can do in the meantime for sleeping problems, pain, or anything else that's bothering you.
If you feel that your doctor isn't listening to you or if your doctor doesn't seem to believe you, and your symptoms, maybe it's time to search for a different doctor.
You have rights as a patient, and those rights should never be violated.
Unfortunately, too many FM patients go to doctor after doctor in search of answers. It can frustrating enough going through all your symptoms, you don't need a doctor that won't even believe them.