How Is FMS Diagnosed?
Fibromyalgia continues to be a very difficult condition to diagnose and that fact alone makes it a serious challenge for sufferers of this syndrome to get the relief they need. Along with taking a proper history especially focusing on muscle, nerve, bone and joint diseases, diagnosing fibromyalgia includes determining if at least 11 of the 18 tender points associated with FMS are active. It is important that you have a health care provider who will respond appropriately to your concerns and is someone with whom you can work. Your doctor relations are critical to your treatment, so if there is something that is out of sync, find a doctor who understands fibromyalgia and will advocate for you.
A Team of Specialists is Often Necessary
Fibromyalgia is known as the great imitator – which is why it is so hard to diagnose. It can be confused with Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, MS, and a number of rheumatic illnesses. In order to properly treat all of the facets of this bewildering syndrome, you may need to enlist the services of several specialists:
- A Rheumatologist can be one of the best practitioners to consult for treating fibromyalgia because s/he is very familiar with the syndrome, its signs and symptoms. Fibromyalgia is considered to be a rheumatic disease because it affects the joints and muscles – the specialty of a rheumatologist.
- A Neurologist is key because of the impact of fibromyalgia on the central nervous system. The neurologist is an important part of the diagnosis and management of FMS because s/he can help with specific cause and treatment of pain.
- Pain specialists are vitally important to the equation because their specialty, of course, is pain management – something a person suffering with fibromyalgia juggles with every single day.
- Physiatrists are essential when it comes to helping people with FMS. That is because of their understanding of both the neurological and musculoskeletal systems of the body. Since FMS affects both systems, a physiatrist can make educated and knowledgeable recommendations for you.
- Osteopaths are a type of holistic doctor in that they treat the body as a whole, using a variety of disciplines in order to treat all aspects of the syndrome. They are significant to the diagnosis and treatment of FMS and because of their hands-on treatment techniques; they can identify tender points, increase flexibility, improve range of motion and relieve joint pain.
- A Naturopath is also an important addition to the consultation and treatment team. Using natural therapies, they can help you deal with depression, muscle pain, fatigue, headaches and numbers of other ailments without the use of drugs and without the unwanted side effects of drugs. Acupuncture and hydrotherapy are but two of the effective treatments used by naturopaths.
- Your Family Physician is your central contact professional when it comes to treatment. It is the family physician who makes the recommendations to specialists and your relationship with your physician is an important one. Again, if it isn’t working, you may need to get the help of someone who is willing to really work with you for your health.
Tests for FMS
There are a number of tests that are being used now to help determine whether symptoms are part of the fibromyalgia syndrome or if they are not related. Such tests as: hair analysis, blood pressure tests, gastroparesis tests and VO2 Max tests are all important to the diagnosis of FMS.
Read About Research and News
Learn about the great technical advances that have been made, especially in trigger point research and ME research. ME is Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, commonly known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). These research projects are important because they give insight into some of the very same symptoms those with FMS deal with, and they are helping to produce answers to the conundrum of treating the syndromes. Read about medical trials and news of FMS in this section under Diagnosis and Tests.