Diagnosis of fibromyalgia
Your GP will usually be able to diagnose fibromyalgia based on your symptoms, and by ruling out other potential causes for your pain. They’ll ask you about your symptoms, your general health, and your medical and family history. They may go through different parts of your body, to check exactly where you’re getting pain. Your GP may also ask you how severe other symptoms are, including tiredness, sleep problems and memory problems. The more parts of the body that are affected and the more severe your symptoms are, the more likely you are to have fibromyalgia.
Your GP will also examine you to check for signs of other conditions that could be causing your pain.
There’s no specific fibromyalgia test. But your GP may do some blood tests to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms to fibromyalgia.
Sometimes, your GP may refer you to a specialist for further tests or treatment. These may include one or more of the following.
- A pain specialist, often based in a pain clinic.
- A musculoskeletal (MSK) specialist, such as a physiotherapist or MSK physician (health professionals who specialise in treating conditions that affect muscles and joints).
- A rheumatologist (a doctor who specialises in identifying and treating conditions that affect the muscles and joints).
- A psychologist (a doctor who specialises in mental health and psychological treatments).
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Fibromyalgia runs in families so it may be linked to your genetic make-up. You’re more likely to get fibromyalgia at some time in your life if one of your relatives has it.
It’s possible that experiencing a traumatic event, such as a car crash or serious illness may also trigger fibromyalgia. See our Causes section for more information.
There isn’t a specific test for fibromyalgia. Instead, your doctor will usually be able to diagnose it by asking about your symptoms. They’ll want to know which parts of your body are affected and how severe they are. They may do some blood tests to rule out other conditions. You can find out more in our Diagnosis section.
Fibromyalgia won’t go away, but there are various therapies and things you can do to help ease your symptoms. Keeping active with regular exercise is an important part of managing fibromyalgia symptoms. Getting good control of your fibromyalgia will allow you to manage your symptoms and live a full life.
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This information was published by Bupa's Health Content Team and is based on reputable sources of medical evidence. It has been reviewed by appropriate medical or clinical professionals and deemed accurate on the date of review. Photos are only for illustrative purposes and do not reflect every presentation of a condition.
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