Limitations of the Diagnostic Criteria

Since fibromyalgia sufferers have typically normal laboratory or x-ray tests the above listed criteria are important for diagnosing and studying the syndrome. However, the criteria are not without their drawbacks.

First, the tender point paradigm assumes that fibromyalgia sufferers only experience pain in the 18 anatomical sites of the body. Recent research has made it evident that individuals with fibromyalgia are sensitive to painful stimuli throughout the body, not merely at the identified locations.

Second, many patients with fibromyalgia will often find that on a given day they will have less than the diagnostic 11 tender points in their body. Does this mean that some days you have fibromyalgia others you don’t? Obviously this is not the case.

Tenderness varies from day to day

Patient tenderness varies from day to day and, as a result, tender point counts on some days can be below the required 11 while on other days it may surpass it. Furthermore, some patients will not always have pain in all four quadrants of the body.

Some experience pain only on one side or on the upper or lower half of the body. That being said, in the absence of a foolproof laboratory marker for fibromyalgia, the criteria explained above remains the best diagnostic tool for this condition.

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Table of Contents
1. Diagnose Fibromyalgia
2. Are these spots painful?
3. Tender points
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