It is difficult to know whether a particular disease is real when there are no x-rays or lab tests that fully identify the disease. This is the case in fibromyalgia. For this reason, doctors and researchers have come up with strict criteria that help identify whether or not a person has fibromyalgia, as it is one of the most difficult conditions to diagnose.
People with fibromyalgia must have a certain number of trigger point sensitivities in various body areas, which will be described later. This is involves doing a particular exam that assesses the patient’s pain when touching specific body areas. If there are enough trigger points deemed sensitive and if the person has the other non-pain symptoms related to fibromyalgia it is said that they meet the criteria for having fibromyalgia.
In a sense, fibromyalgia is no different from diagnosing most mental disorders. In mental disorders, there are no hard findings on labs and x-rays to identify the diseases and yet, when certain criteria are met, the individual is said to have the disorder. Like mental disorders for which there is no hard data to prove their existence, fibromyalgia is real. With the help of a careful history and specialized physical examination, the diagnosis of fibromyalgia can be confidently made.
If you believe you have fibromyalgia, make sure you see a doctor who can perform the specified physical examinations. If you pass the criteria for fibromyalgia, then you have the disease.