Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Fibromyalgia Health Center

Font Size

Fibromyalgia Diagnosis

How Do I Know if I Have Fibromyalgia?

Before fibromyalgia treatment can begin a doctor must diagnose the condition.

Experts say that fibromyalgia is underdiagnosed. It can be difficult to diagnose because many of its symptoms are the same as those of other conditions, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, underactive thyroid, Lyme disease, lupus, and multiple chemical sensitivity. Fibromyalgia is usually diagnosed after other possible causes have been ruled out.

Recommended Related to Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia and Sleep

Are you having trouble sleeping because you have fibromyalgia? Most people with the disease complain of trouble sleeping. No matter how long they sleep, it is rarely restful. Here's some information that can help you get a better night's sleep.

Read the Fibromyalgia and Sleep article > >

To diagnose fibromyalgia, your doctor will take a thorough history and do physical and neurological exams. The doctor will also determine whether you have any tender points, the key distinguishing symptom of fibromyalgia. Some doctors use the American College of Rheumatology guidelines that require a minimum of 11 out of 18 tender points for a fibromyalgia diagnosis. Others say that fewer than 11 tender points may indicate fibromyalgia, particularly if you also have severe fatigue and widespread pain that has lasted more than three months.

If your doctor suspects you may have fibromyalgia, there is a blood test to help diagnose the condition. The test -- called FM/a -- identifies markers produced by immune system blood cells in people with fibromyalgia. Because the test is new, insurance may not cover it. Ask your doctor if the FM/a test is right for you. He or she may order laboratory tests to rule out other conditions. 

Because of the difficulty in diagnosing fibromyalgia, it is best to see a doctor who is knowledgeable about the condition, such as a rheumatologist. Diagnosis is important because the earlier fibromyalgia is detected, the sooner you can make lifestyle changes to reduce the symptoms.


WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Kimball Johnson, MD on August 09, 2012
Edited on August 13, 2012

Today on WebMD

instructor training woman with dumbbells
Can it help your fibromyalgia flare-ups?
woman painting
It’s hard, but we’ve got tips.
woman at desk rubbing shoulder
Tips to modify your workspace is one step.
Woman rubbing her upper back
Get treatment options and coping skills.
Fatigue or Something More
Woman with stressed, fatigue
woman in pain
woman eating apple
Sex Advice for Single Women
Your Symptoms
Uncomfortable mature woman