Arthritis Today

Fibromyalgia Diagnosis


To diagnose fibromyalgia, your doctor will ask you about your health history and give you a physical examination. A physical exam can rule out other conditions that may cause chronic pain and fatigue.

There are no diagnostic tests for fibromyalgia, although some tests can help diagnose other medical problems with symptoms similar to fibromyalgia. For example, an under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism) causes many of the same symptoms as fibromyalgia. A doctor can order a simple blood test, however, to determine if someone has a thyroid problem.

A diagnosis is largely based on your input on the following criteria:

  • Widespread pain index (WPI) score: The WPI lists 19 areas of the body where it’s common for people with fibromyalgia to have pain. You get a point for each area selected.
  • Symptom Severity (SS) score, in which you rank the following symptoms on a scale of 0-3:
    • Fatigue
    • Waking unrefreshed
    • Cognitive symptoms
    • Physical symptoms such as headache, weakness, bowel problems, dizziness, numbness/tingling, hair loss
  • Symptoms present for at least three months
  • No other health problems that would explain the pain and other symptoms