How to Test Yourself for Fibromyalgia

By Colette Larson

Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) is a painful, debilitating condition affecting the joints, muscles and soft tissue of the human body in approximately two per cent of the United States population. Its multiple symptoms are closely associated to those of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Rheumatoid Arthritis, Systemic Lupus and the Epstein-Barr Virus. There is no reliable test for fibromyalgia. It is diagnosed by ruling out any other health condition that may be responsible for the primary underlying symptoms of fatigue, widespread muscle pain and multiple tender points. The following questions screen for the occurrence of Fibromyalgia and should not be used as a sole means of its diagnosis. If your primary three physical complaints over the last three to six months include fatigue, cognitive dysfunction and pain and you have experienced a significant portion of the following for a minimum of three to six months, please visit a clinician familiar with this condition for an individual diagnosis and treatment plan.

Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) is a painful, debilitating condition affecting the joints, muscles and soft tissue of the human body in approximately two per cent of the United States population. Its multiple symptoms are closely associated to those of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Rheumatoid Arthritis, Systemic Lupus and the Epstein-Barr Virus. There is no reliable test for fibromyalgia. It is diagnosed by ruling out any other health condition that may be responsible for the primary underlying symptoms of fatigue, widespread muscle pain and multiple tender points.

The following questions screen for the occurrence of Fibromyalgia and should not be used as a sole means of its diagnosis. If your primary three physical complaints over the last three to six months include fatigue, cognitive dysfunction and pain and you have experienced a significant portion of the following for a minimum of three to six months, please visit a clinician familiar with this condition for an individual diagnosis and treatment plan.

Fibromyalgia Self Test

Pain Do you feel a constant widespread dull pain that seems to originate in your muscles? (This pain occurs on both sides of the body, above and below the waist.) Do you experience pain when pressure is applied to the following tender points: * Back of the head * Between the shoulder blades * Top of the shoulders * Front sides of the neck * Upper chest * Outer elbows * Upper hips * Sides of hips * Inner knees Are you stiff upon waking in the morning? Do you frequently feel a tingling sensation or numbness in your hands and feet?

Fatigue Are you frequently tired? Does your fatigue impair your ability to function? Do you have difficulty sleeping?

Allergies and Sensitivities Have any of the following worsened or developed over the past three to six months? Mold, dust, seasonal, or food allergies? Sensitivity to fumes, odors or chemicals? Drug or alcohol sensitivities? Rashes or skin sensitivities?

Other Symptoms Have you begun to experience at least four of the following over the past three to six months: Frequent, severe headaches? Recurring or chronic sore throat? Painful lymph node areas under your arm or in the neck? Muscle pain or general muscle discomfort? Difficulty sleeping? Problems with cognitive skills such as memory or thinking? (commonly referred to as “fibro fog”) Pain in different joints at different times as if it were "traveling" from one joint to another (migratory arthralgia) Additional symptoms may include painful menstrual periods, irritable bowel and bladder, restless legs syndrome, dry eyes and mouth, depression, anxiety, tinnitus, dizziness, vision problems, Raynaud's Syndrome, neurological symptoms and impaired coordination.

Medical History Do you have a history of any of the following that may explain your recent symptoms: A medical condition, life change or new stressor? A psychiatric condition with psychotic features, bipolar affective disorder, schizophrenia, organic dementia, anorexia or bulimia nervosa? Alcohol or substance abuse within 2 years of the appearance of the initial symptoms?

Tip

In a 1997 study published in Volume 2 of the Clinical Bulletin of Myofascial Therapy, John C. Lowe, Richard L. Garrison, Alan J. Reichman, Jackie Yellin, Mervianna Thompson and Daniel Kaufman have indicated a link between insufficient production of the triiodothyronine (T3) hormone by the thyroid gland and the occurrence of FMS. T3 sends oxygen to each muscle in the body. In patients with Fibromyalgia, the muscles seem to be oxygen-starved. This is believed to cause the general achiness experienced by FMS patients. Another major symptom of FMS is extreme fatigue, again possibly caused by low T3 level impact on the patient's metabolism.

References

About the Author

Colette Larson is a freelance writer, Web designer and Web traffic strategist from Florida's Gulf Coast. As a Michigan State University graduate, Larson built a successful career in corporate information systems over 25 years, beginning as a help desk technician and working her way up to project management.

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