Take the Fibromyalgia Symptoms Quiz
How Do I Know If I Have Fibromyalgia?
This is the question asked by many of those who suffer from invisible widespread pain or persistent symptoms that seem to have no easily discernible cause. If this is you, then you’ve come to the right place. This article will provide you with an overview and understanding of fibromyalgia as well as a way to determine the severity level of your symptoms.
Overview of fibromyalgia and chronic pain
Ordinarily, pain, unpleasant as it may feel, acts as a preemptive warning that a part of our body has been injured and requires attention. In usual circumstances, the pain signals work as they should; firing when there is damage and stopping when the injury is taken care of or treated. In some cases, however, the pain signals fire inappropriately, giving a false alarm to our brain. These false signals occur to warn our brain of injury for two different reasons. One, they will fire, warning the brain warning us of danger even though there is none present. Secondly, pain signals can wrongly fire when there was a form of damage or injury but it has long since been healed or treated.
When a person experiences long-standing pain (three months or longer) that persists beyond the expected recovery time or is occurring alongside a chronic health condition, it’s defined as chronic pain or pain disorder.
One of the most common pain disorders is called fibromyalgia (also known as fibro and FM), which is the focus of this article; however the information provided here also applies to many of the common symptoms and secondary conditions that often accompany fibromyalgia. Some of which include:
- Chronic pain syndrome
- Chronic back pain, neck pain, knee pain, pelvic pain, etc.
- Chronic headaches
- Brain fog
- Piriformis syndrome
- Repetitive stress injury (RSI)
- Myofascial pain syndrome
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Chronic temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ)
- Chronic tendonitis
- Trigeminal neuralgia
- Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
- Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Tender points and swelling around the joints
What is pain and fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a disorder represented by widespread musculoskeletal pain. For pain to be seen as widespread, pain must exist on both the left and right sides of the body as well as above and below the waist. The pain experienced with fibro is reported as being a dull constant aching lasting for at least three months.
While it remains unclear exactly what causes fibromyalgia remains unclear, one significant precipitating factor for someone to develop fibro seems to be a combination of stressful life events, and an acute viral or bacterial infection. These stressful or traumatic situations can be physical stress or psychological in nature. Possible triggers for chronic pain including fibromyalgia include:
- Bodily Injury
- Viral infections
- Giving Birth
- Undergoing an operation
- Termination or unraveling of a relationship
- Subjected to an abusive relationship
- Death of a loved one
However, there are many instances in which fibromyalgia does not develop after an obvious stressful or traumatic event.
How is pain and fibromyalgia detected?
Because fibromyalgia is not well understood, many people may be left wondering:
- How do I check myself for fibromyalgia?
- Is there a test I can take to tell if you have fibromyalgia?
Currently, there is no generally accepted or utilized medical test to specifically diagnose the condition. Rather, some fibromyalgia diagnostic criteria have been assembled to assess a person’s condition and rule out any other conditions that could be causing the symptoms associated with chronic pain and fibro. Blood tests are also performed which can be used to rule out any conditions that present similar symptoms.
Even with no medical test, there are specific criteria that must be met for a formal chronic pain or fibromyalgia diagnosis. For fibromyalgia to be diagnosed, certain criteria usually have to be met. The most widely used criteria for diagnosis are: you must have pain in at least four of these five areas consistently for a minimum of three months:
- Left upper zone: left shoulder, arm, or jaw
- Right upper zone: right shoulder, arm, or jaw
- Left lower zone: left hip, buttock, or leg
- Right lower zone: right hip, buttock, or leg
- The axial zone: the neck, back, chest, or abdomen
Take this Fibromyalgia Symptoms Quiz
While not meant to serve as a replacement for the diagnosis of fibromyalgia by a healthcare provider, this symptoms quiz can be used for your own knowledge by helping to provide you with a baseline for your level of symptom severity that can be reassessed to see changes over time, as you apply your therapeutic approach.
How does this self-assessment work?
For each of the following questions, you will be asked to select one of the following options to indicate the frequency of your symptoms: never, very rarely, rarely, occasionally, frequently, or always. Your unique answers will then be used to calculate your results and determine whether your symptoms are mild, moderate, or severe. Further unique educational information will be shown in accordance with your results, and all results are strictly confidential.
Please note and acknowledge that this self-assessment is not intended to establish a physician-patient relationship, to replace the services of a trained physician or health care professional, or otherwise to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The aim of this quiz is to provide education about the condition. By filling out this self-assessment and clicking “calculate” you acknowledge that you’ve read and agree with this statement and agree to re-origin’s Terms & Conditions.
Take the Fibromyalgia Symptoms Quiz
How often do you find yourself:
What are the health risks related to fibromyalgia?
As with any condition fibromyalgia and chronic pain have associated health risks. For instance, a major symptom of fibromyalgia is called fibro fog or brain fog. It’s a serious symptom that can cause compromised functioning both mentally and physically. Fibro fog is characterized by:
- Easily distracted
- Difficulty when conversing with others
- Short term memory loss
Due to these symptoms being highly social in nature many people suffering from fibro fog are not able to work safely or effectively. Even for individuals with fibromyalgia who are able to work, there can be a reduction in productivity and a lower quality of life. The pain, fatigue, and brain fog associated with the condition can make once enjoyable activities difficult and therefore unenjoyable.
Due to once joyful activities becoming painful and difficult, people may withdraw from everyday activities and be social in general.
How do you treat fibromyalgia?
Medication and self-care are both effective strategies when trying to manage or treat chronic pain and fibromyalgia. The core goal of any treatment method is to minimize symptoms and improve one’s general health. However, no singular treatment is able to alleviate all symptoms, but implementing a variety of methods has a cumulative effect when battling symptoms.
Several medications are commonly used to reduce the pain of fibromyalgia. When considering medications to manage fibromyalgia symptoms, it is important to consult with your doctor. Common medications include:
- Pain relievers
- Anti-seizure drugs
Several different types of therapies may be able to lessen the effect symptoms of fibromyalgia have on one’s body. Common choices include:
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
re-origin focuses on addressing the root cause of chronic pain and fibromyalgia: an impaired or overactive limbic system that is constantly in “danger mode”. This is done in our program by intervening in any inactive neural pathways in the brain. This essentially means calming the brain’s overactive threat-response system so you can reduce pain signals and sensations and potentially recover from chronic pain and fibromyalgia symptoms.