Man with head in hands"As a rheumatologist, I am increasingly impressed that FM is primarily a neurological disorder which presents as a musculoskeletal pain syndrome."

— Robert Bennett, MD
FM specialist

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How is FM diagnosed?

The 1990 American College of Rheumatologists diagnostic criteria are:

1) Widespread pain for at least 3 months.

2) Pain in all four quadrants of the body: right side, left side, above and below the waist.

3) Pain in at least 11 of 18 specified tender points when they are pressed. These 18 sites cluster around the neck, shoulder, chest, hip, knee, and elbow regions.

No exclusions are made for the presence of concomitant radiographic or laboratory abnormalities.

Please note: In May 2010, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) released new criteria for the clinical diagnosis of Fibromyalgia (FM). However not all health care providers are using these new criteria, so it is good for patients to be familiar with both. The new criteria recommend that the tender point examination be replaced with a combination of a widespread pain index (WPI) and severity scale of symptoms (SS). 

Using these new criteria, a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia will be made on the following basis:

The values and ranges allowed for the WPI and the SS scales should meet one of the combinations: WPI >7 AND SS >5 or WPI 3–6 AND SS >9.
Symptoms have persisted at this level for the past 3 months.
Patient does not have any other disorder or cause to explain the pain.

Read more about the diagnosis of FM.