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Study: Simple One-minute Tests can Help Fibromyalgia Diagnosis

Fibromyalgia DiagnosisFibromyalgia (FB) is a condition that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain throughout the body including neck, upper chest, upper back and shoulders, elbows and knees. Fibromyalgia pain management in reliable healthcare centers in Brooklyn, NYC involves use of various proven treatment modalities to reduce chronic pain and restore strength and quality of life. It is hard to diagnose fibromyalgia as many of its symptoms are quite similar to those of other conditions. A new study suggests that two simple tests that take less than a minute can help diagnose fibromyalgia in patients with chronic pain. The study results were published in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice.

Fibromyalgia affects about 3.4% of women and 0.5% of men in the United States. The condition is characterized by chronic widespread along with several other secondary conditions, including fatigue, mood swings, sleep disturbances, psychological stress and irritable syndrome, among others. Though it can develop at any age, the condition tends to affect people in middle age. Since symptoms are diverse, diagnosing the condition can be challenging. Physicians may need to conduct a complete step-by-step evaluation to reach a correct diagnosis.

The study led by researchers at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, evaluated if three clinical measures – blood pressure (BP) cuff‐evoked pain, digital palpation evoked pain and a single question about “persistent deep aching” – could be used as indicators of fibromyalgia. Of the 352 patients included in the study, 70% were women, who were evaluated in routine examinations at two primary care practices. Up to 52 patients had a diagnosis of FB, 108 had chronic pain but not FB, and 192 patients had no pain-associated conditions. The study found that:

  • Patients with fibromyalgia showed greater sensitivity to digital pressure and BP-evoked pressure pain compared to patients with chronic pain, but no fibromyalgia.
  • Patients who had right Achilles tenderness and who endorsed the deep-aching question had an 11 times greater chance of having fibromyalgia.

Combining these two factors, it was found that FB patients had 64% sensitivity and 86% specificity.

The results of the study indicate that two tests, which take less than 1 minute, could indicate a probable diagnosis of fibromyalgia in a chronic pain patient. However, the researchers stress that though these diagnostic procedures show great potential, they cannot be solely relied upon to make a final diagnosis of fibromyalgia.

If not diagnosed and addressed early, fibromyalgia symptoms can considerably interfere with your daily activities. Effective pain management options are available in Brooklyn. In reliable multi-specialty healthcare centers, a team of healthcare professionals assess patients thoroughly and provide appropriate treatment using nonsurgical modalities such as chiropractic care, physical therapy, and more.

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