How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?

Your doctor will diagnose fibromyalgia at the time of your visit, based on a combination of factors, including:

  • A complete medical history and physical exam (to rule out other illnesses that may have similar symptoms, such as rheumatoid arthritis, muscle inflammation, bursitis, or tendinitis).
  • The presence of widespread pain together with some of the other symptoms of fibromyalgia.
  • Presence of very tender areas ("tender points") at specific locations (see Figure 2). People who have fibromyalgia have abnormal sensitivity when light pressure is applied to many of the locations illustrated. Only about 80% of patients have tender points. The absence of tender points does not rule out the diagnosis of fibromyalgia.

Fig. 2: Common areas of pain and tenderness (called \"tender points\") in people who have fibromyalgia.

Fig. 2: Common areas of pain and tenderness (called "tender points") in people who have fibromyalgia.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/07/2017.


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