It is commonly accepted that Fibromyalgia can be difficult to diagnose. This is one of the reasons why it is not known how many people are affected by the condition.
The symptoms can vary and misdiagnosis is not uncommon as the symptoms can often present as they do in other conditions such as hyperthyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or ME) and rheumatoid arthritis.
It is thought that up to 5% of the population, i.e., 1 in 20 people can be affected by Fibromyalgia to varying degrees.
If someone is showing the signs of Fibromyalgia then as it is a diagnosis of exclusion, blood and urine samples are routinely taken and tested for these other conditions although. Confusingly, however, it is not unknown for patients with such conditions to also be suffering concurrently from Fibromyalgia.
“You proved to me in our first telephone call that you understand Fibromyalgia. Your confidence won me over and I’m so pleased it did!” GT (£185,000 recovered), November 2017
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
At BLB Solicitors we have found that it is increasingly common to find doctors diagnosing people as suffering both Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. That is not unusual as most specialists now consider that both have a common underlying cause and simply lie at different points on the same spectrum. This is why newer tags such as ‘central sensitisation’, are being used in order to emphasise their similarities and common underlying mechanisms.
According to the NHS the most commonly used criteria for diagnosing Fibromyalgia are:
- The presence of severe pain in 3 to 6 different areas or milder pain in 7 or more different areas;
- Persistence of symptoms at a more or less constant and similar level for at least 3 months;
- No other explanation for the persistence of these symptoms has been identified.
“Andrew, I feel so lucky to have found you. What a difference you made! Let’s face it, with [previous solicitors] the claim was heading for the rocks. Thank you so much.” TR (£265,000 received), October 2018
For many years it was common to test 18 designated tender points around the body and a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia would be given if at least 11 of the specified 18 pressure points were painful when pressed. The 18 tender points used are concentrated around the neck, chest, hips, knees and elbows and it was said that the pressure to be applied when testing should be just sufficient to cause the nail bed to whiten.
However, diagnosis of Fibromyalgia is no longer based solely on the number of tender points as it once was. The American College of Rheumatology revised its criteria for diagnosing the condition in 2010, moving away from reliance on testing tender points. That said, it is not uncommon for some medical professionals, typically GPs, to employ this test when they suspect that a patient may have the condition.
Keep up to date with the latest developments relating to Fibromyalgia and chronic pain more generally through our topical and regularly updated Blog.
If your current solicitor is letting you down with their lack of understanding of your condition, why not speak in complete confidence to one of our specialist Fibromyalgia Solicitors? It won’t cost you anything and you really do have everything to gain. Call us on 01225 462871 or complete the contact form at the foot of this page.