Fibromyalgia can be tough to pin down. No test can confirm that a person has fibromyalgia and the usual symptoms of widespread pain and severe fatigue can be mistaken for something else.
If you think you have fibromyalgia, it's worth taking action to find out for sure. While there is no single medication for fibromyalgia, there are a number of treatments that can ease the symptoms and improve daily life.
A fibromyalgia diagnosis often requires some detective work from you and the doctor. Here's where to start:
- Know the symptoms. Keep an eye out for the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia:
- People with fibromyalgia have a number of small areas around the body called tender points. Mild pressure applied to any of these points is painful.
- Disrupted sleep is common, and can lead to extreme grogginess and cognitive problems, sometimes called "fibro fog."
- Dizziness, anxiety, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems are other signs.
- Hypersensitivity to sounds, light, and certain foods may also occur.
- Symptoms can disappear for days, weeks, or months, only to reappear as mysteriously as they left.
- Get the care you need. Getting a diagnosis may take a while. Your doctor may give you a blood test to be sure you don't have celiac disease or low thyroid (hypothyroidism). A rheumatologist, internist, neurologist, chiropractor, or primary care doctor can diagnose and treat fibromyalgia. If you aren't comfortable working with your primary care doctor, ask friends, family members, and other doctors for suggestions. Be sure to ask how many fibromyalgia patients the doctor sees, so you'll find someone well versed in the multiple treatments typical for people with fibromyalgia.
- Keep track. With the array of symptoms occurring in fibromyalgia, it can be hard to remember exactly when a symptom occurred and what may have triggered a flare-up. Patterns you never noticed before can be obvious when you track your activities, food, and symptoms on your phone or in a notepad. Symptoms triggered by meals could be the first indication that your symptoms are due to celiac disease (an inability of the body to handle gluten) or a gluten sensitivity, for instance.
- Be ready for questions. To make the most of your time with the doctor, think about these questions in advance:
- How would you describe your pain? People often describe pain as a dull ache, a sharp pain, or a burning pain.
- Does anything makes your symptoms worse? This could be an activity, a food you ate, or something in your environment, such as noise from nearby construction.
- How long have you been experiencing these symptoms? Symptoms may come and go, so be ready to tell the doctor about the first occurrence.
- Does exercise make you feel better or worse? Let the doctor know how exercise affects you. People with fibromyalgia sometimes feel much worse the day after exercising. impact.