In Person Examination Critical to Avoid Fibromyalgia Misdiagnosis
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition affecting over 4 million people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is associated with abnormal pain processing — sleep problems, fatigue, and often emotional and mental distress.
The condition is often diagnosed with a medical history questionnaire, and sometimes a physical exam, X Rays, and blood tests.
However, a new study suggests the condition is often misdiagnosed.
The Study in a Nutshell
According to a study published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research, using textbook criteria to diagnose someone can lead to a different prognosis than using a clinician’s in-person assessment.
The study involved 497 people attending a rheumatology clinic.
Medical News Today describes the study:
“All of these individuals filled in both a health assessment questionnaire and a questionnaire that the American College of Rheumatology uses to assess a person for fibromyalgia symptoms.
“The participants also received consultations and diagnoses from rheumatology clinicians.
“On assessing the results of these evaluations, the researchers found that only 121 (or 24.3 percent) of the initial 497 participants received a fibromyalgia diagnosis from a rheumatology clinician.”
An Attending Physician Critical to Correct Diagnosis
In an editorial accompanying the study, researchers argue that criteria and questionnaires cannot replace the opinion of an attending physician that examines the patient in person.
“This is the only way to capture the variability and severity of interrelated symptoms as they play out over time,” writes Dr. Don Goldenberg from Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, a scientist in the study.
The diagnostic gold standard for fibromyalgia will continue to be the rheumatologist’s expert opinion, not classification criteria, no matter how well-refined and intentioned. This is the only way to capture the variability and severity of interrelated symptoms as they play out over time. There is no short-cut. We are the go-to experts for patients and our colleagues for the diagnosis of fibromyalgia, whether or not we readily accept that role.”
A Treatable Disease if Properly Diagnosed
Proper diagnosis of fibromyalgia is critical for effective treatment. Though the causes of fibromyalgia are not known, it is a highly manageable and treatable disease with proper medical care, a healthy diet, and exercise. At our health and wellness center, we’ve been helping those who suffer from fibromyalgia live healthy and full lives without an over reliance on pain medication or surgery.
Natural Treatments for Fibromyalgia at Our Health & Wellness Clinic
Once we diagnose you, there are a number of holistic therapies that can help return your energy and ability to enjoy life without potentially addictive pain medications or invasive surgery. We find that by maintaining a healthy diet, engaging in therapeutic activities like yoga and massage, many of our patients can return to active energy levels.
We recommend CBD oil for pain management and are also authorized to issue medical marijuana recommendations to patients with fibromyalgia. We can also do PRP injections to help restore injured fascia, as well as potential stem cell therapy. Dr. Blatman is a holistic doctor who has helped numerous patients suffering from fibromyalgia manage their pain and regain an active lifestyle.