Seeking A Diagnosis

Versus Arthritis

Fibromyalgia can sometimes be difficult to diagnose, as the symptoms vary from person to person. There are some common symptoms your doctor will look for to help diagnose fibromyalgia, including:

  • severe pain that has lasted three months or more
  • fatigue
  • regularly waking up feeling unrefreshed
  • problems with your memory and understanding.

It may help your doctor understand the problems you’re having if you make a list of any physical or psychological problems you’ve experienced. They will probably then carry out a physical examination.

There aren’t any specific blood tests, x-rays or scans to confirm a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. But you might have blood tests to check for other conditions.

Many symptoms of fibromyalgia are similar to those of other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome and an underactive thyroid gland.

Some people may be diagnosed and treated for one of these other conditions. It is also possible to have one of these conditions as well as fibromyalgia.

Your doctor may also suggest a referral to:

  • a rheumatologist – a doctor who specialises in conditions affecting the bones, joints and muscles. They may confirm your diagnosis.
  • a physiotherapist – who can suggest exercises and relaxation techniques
  • a clinical psychologist or counsellor – who may use methods such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and mindfulness
  • an occupational therapist – who can advise you on the best way to carry out daily activities and work around your condition
  • a community or hospital-based specialist pain clinic, or chronic fatigue service – who can help you manage your symptoms.

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