How is fibromyalgia characterized and diagnosed?

Updated: Apr 23, 2020
  • Author: Chad S Boomershine, MD, PhD, CPI, CPT; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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By definition, fibromyalgia is a disorder of chronic, widespread pain and tenderness. Chronic indicates the pain and tenderness have been present continuously for at least 3 months. Widespread means the pain and tenderness are on both sides of the body, above and below the waist, including the axial spine (usually the paraspinal, scapular, and trapezius muscles). While identification of fibromyalgia patients by the original 1990 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) classification criteria required a specialized physical examination to quantify tender-point count that many providers have not been trained to perform, [9] the 2010 ACR diagnostic criteria allow for diagnosis by history without specialized training. [11]

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