To diagnose fibromyalgia, your doctor will take a thorough history and do physical and neurological exams. She will also determine whether you have specific tender points, a key trait of fibromyalgia.
Your doctor may also do a blood test to help diagnose fibromyalgia. The test identifies markers produced by immune system blood cells in people with fibromyalgia.
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.
What Are the Treatments for Fibromyalgia?
There is no cure for fibromyalgia, and people with the condition usually have it for life. However, it is not likely to get worse as you age and it does not damage muscles, tendons, or ligaments. Many people are able to reduce their symptoms with a combination of exercise, medication, physical therapy, and relaxation.
At first, pain and fatigue may make it difficult for you to exercise. Keep in mind that persisting with an exercise routine may ultimately reduce fibromyalgia symptoms, while becoming unfit may make symptoms worse. If you have not exercised recently, be sure to talk with your doctor before beginning an exercise program and start slowly. Your doctor or a physical therapist can help you work up to 20 to 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week.