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The diagnosis of fibromyalgia is based upon the patient history and a physical exam. Although there are no specific laboratory measures for fibromyalgia, blood tests are performed to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms. According to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) in 1990, people may be diagnosed with fibromyalgia if they have the following:

  • Widespread musculoskeletal pain in all four quadrants of the body (on both sides of the body, above and below the waist) that has lasted more than three months.
  • Excess tenderness in at least 11 out of 18 specific sites (“tender points”).

Please see Figure 1.

Figure 1
the 18 Tender Points of Fibromyalgia

Alternatively, the 2010 ACR diagnostic criteria also require that the symptoms have been present for at least three months and cannot be explained by another disorder, but do not require a tender point examination. The fibromyalgia diagnosis may be made based on the extent of pain (Widespread Pain Index) summed with the severity and number of other symptoms (Symptom Severity Score) experienced over the past week.

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