Fibromyalgia is so difficult to diagnose that it can take years before patients understand what’s making their bodies ache. When Lynn Matallana began noticing unexplained pain and fatigue in 1993 -- “pain in every part of my body, pain that felt like acid in my veins” -- it took her nearly two years and 37 doctors before she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. In that time, the former partner in an advertising and public relations firm says, “I went from being an extremely active, high-functioning,...
Here's a look at the common ways that fibromyalgia can be misdiagnosed.
The main symptom of fibromyalgia is widespread pain. You can have pain on the right and left side of the body. It can also be above and below the waist. But the pain may also occur in only one or two places in the body, especially the neck and shoulders.
A diagnosis of fibromyalgia can be tricky, because fibromyalgia isn't the only condition with widespread pain.
Another reason fibromyalgia is hard to diagnose is the tendency for groups of symptoms to occur together in fibromyalgia patients. But the groups will not be the same for everyone. So, not everyone with fibromyalgia will have all the symptoms described above.
And because the symptoms can suggest multiple diseases, doctors need to rule them out first as they look for an explanation.
Another problem with diagnosing fibromyalgia is that a patient could have other conditions at the same time as fibromyalgia.