From Healing Fibromyalgia, by David Edelberg, MD
How Do I Know If I Have Fibro? Take the Quiz
Even if you’ve already been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, take the quiz to gain a better understanding of fibro’s underpinnings. Because fibro is not a disease per se and offers your doctor no positive test results on which to confirm a diagnosis, 85% of women who have it go undiagnosed, often for years.
A recent survey of physicians revealed 70% of doctors “don’t feel competent” to diagnose fibromyalgia…so why not do it yourself?
1. 95% of people with fibro are female—12 million in the US alone, which means more women have fibro than have diabetes.
Are you a woman?
2. Fibromyalgia is Greek for “muscle pain.” This is an achy sensation in the muscles, usually starting in your neck and upper back.
Do you carry your stress in your neck, shoulders, and/or upper back?
3. There are certain characteristics of muscle pain that are specific to fibro. The key word is “widespread.” Generally, fibro muscle pain starts in your neck, shoulders, and upper back and then spreads, although some women feel it first in their lower back and pelvis. Fibro pain is achy in nature, and though on some days certain areas can hurt more than others, fibro pain is not localized to any one area.
Is your muscle pain widespread?
4. The second most common symptom of fibro is fatigue, a real sense of tiredness, dragging through the day, having difficulty with work or household chores, crashing at night.
Do you suffer fatigue?
5. Sleep is a real problem for people with fibro. Patients have difficulty sleeping and often awaken unrefreshed, exhausted and stiff in the morning (“I feel old”), as if they haven’t slept at all.
Do you suffer from unrefreshing sleep and feel stiff and achy when you get up in the morning?
6. People with fibro also have trouble with focus and concentration, called fibro-fog. Simple activities, like balancing a checkbook, become real challenges.
Do you suffer from poor focus and/or concentration?
7. Stress exacerbates fibro.
Do your muscles hurt or feel achy most of the time, but especially when you’re stressed?
8. Another characteristic of fibro pain is duration, an achiness that’s been around at least three months. Again, some days worse than others.
Have you been in discomfort for three months or longer?
9. Location of muscle pain is also a clue.
Are you feeling achy in your neck and upper back, on the front of your chest, in your lower back, in both hips, and on the insides of both knees?
10. People with fibro are prone to headaches. These may be tension headaches (a tight band-like headache over the eyes) and/or migraines (throbbing headaches usually on one side of your head, often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light).
Do you suffer frequent tension or migraine headaches?
11. Fibro can mimic other medical conditions, including the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, osteoarthritis, hypothyroidism, severe vitamin D deficiency, and the impossible-to-pronounce polymyalgia rheumatica. A few blood tests can quickly rule out these possibilities.
Has your doctor ruled out other causes of your muscle pain?
12. Fibro can also occur along with any chronic medical condition. Some people being treated for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or multiple sclerosis seem to reach a plateau with their therapy and get no better, because they have undiagnosed fibro.
If you have a chronic medical condition and are still in pain, has your doctor also considered fibromyalgia?
13. Many people being treated for chronic depression or anxiety meet all the criteria for fibro, but have never mentioned their other symptoms to their therapist. Also, many women with chronic pelvic pain who are being evaluated by their gynecologists for fibroids or endometriosis meet all the criteria for fibro.
Do you have a history of depression, anxiety, or chronic pelvic pain AND do you have widespread muscle achiness that you’ve never mentioned to your doctor or therapist?
14. Most people with fibro slog through their days doing only what’s absolutely necessary (and sometimes not even than much) and not able to do the things that bring them pleasure.
Do your symptoms interfere with your enjoyment of life?
15. The average fibro patient suffers needlessly for five years (often longer) before learning she has fibro.
If you sought help for your symptoms, did you hear a variation of “We can’t find anything wrong with you–all your tests are normal”?
16. Fibro almost always begins after a period of protracted physical or emotional stress.
During the months before your symptoms began, were you experiencing an unusual amount of stress in your life?
17. One of the saddest statistics about fibromyalgia is that 25% of patients were psychologically, physically, or sexually abused as children or experienced a sexual assault as young women (date rape).
Does any of this apply to you?
18. People with fibro are often sensitive to chemicals, feeling nausea or headaches with chemical smells and even perfumes. In addition, they frequently experience side effects from prescription drugs
Are you chemically sensitive?
19. Fibro patients often have chronic pelvic pain and painful intercourse. They’re frequently given such diagnoses as interstitial cystitis, endometriosis, or fibroids. Yet treatment for these conditions fails to bring relief.
Do you suffer from chronic pelvic pain or painful intercourse?
- If you answered yes to questions 3, 4, 5, and 8, you probably have fibromyalgia.
If you answered no to some of those questions but yes to any of the others, you’re at real risk for fibro.
Although chronic muscle pain, exhaustion, poor sleep, and brain fog are the hallmarks of fibro and enough for anyone to endure, a majority of women later diagnosed with fibro first suffered a range of seemingly unrelated low-serotonin symptoms, which I call the fibromyalgia spectrum. For many woman later diagnosed with fibro, these symptoms actually appeared first, years before the widespread muscle pain of their fibro began.
Have you had or do you currently have any of the following low-serotonin symptoms (score 1 point for every yes answer)?
Irritable bowel syndrome (episodes of bloating, constipation, diarrhea, cramping)
Severe PMS (with mood swings)
Restless legs at night
Cold hands and feet
Lightheadedness when standing up quickly
Physical symptoms during periods of stress (headaches, stomach aches, TMJ)
A tendency to gain weight, but not lose it, despite healthful diet and exercise
An injury to your neck or spine from which you feel you’ve never completely recovered (e.g., a whiplash injury that “never seemed to go away”).
A worsening of any of these symptoms with weather changes
Do you regard yourself as unusually sensitive to the world? This can include being highly intuitive, overreacting to feeling slighted, or being emotionally/physically sensitive to colors, smells, tastes, and sensations–almost as if you’ve gone through life as a walking “open wound” in a world made of salt?
Because the brain needs sunlight to make serotonin, fibro symptoms are often worse in winter, when levels of stress-buffering serotonin drop. This situation is also responsible for the depression of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Are your symptoms worse in winter and/or do you experience depression during dark winter months?
Because your brain needs carbohydrates to manufacture serotonin, low-serotonin women often crave quickly absorbed “fast carbs” such as bread, chips, pasta, chocolate, and other sweets.
Do you crave fast carbs?
Because serotonin levels are linked to estrogen levels, all low-serotonin disorders worsen when estrogen levels drop. These include one week before your period starts (PMS), the six weeks after delivering a baby (post partum depression), and during menopause.
Do any of your low-serotonin symptoms worsen during these times?
Have you experienced any of these low-serotonin disorders: depression, anxiety/panic, obsessive thinking, compulsive behavior, social anxiety, phobias, eating disorders, post-partum depression?
Low-serotonin disorders run through the women in families. Did anyone in your biological family—especially the women—have any of the conditions listed just above?
If you answered yes to any of these Part 2 questions, it’s a clue that you’re more sensitive to the world than other women and most men. Understand that if you experience any period of sustained stress in the future, you are at risk for fibromyalgia as well as any of the symptoms listed above.
69 thoughts on “Fibromyalgia Quiz”
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Omg I cried reading your quiz. I am turning 40 this year and have had every damn symptom for almost 30 years. But they used to come and go so quickly, that I never mentioned it to a doctor because within a day or 2 the pain would be gone.I didn’t want to sound like I was whining so I kept it to myself. Every bloody question you asked in your quiz (shaking my head crying like a baby right now) you validated me. For the first time in 30 years. Someone understands what anguish I have been going through.
I thought I was literally going crazy.
You articulated so perfectly, what I could never explain. Please ,tell me you know what I mean when I say,I will wake up one morning and suddenly all of my skin hurts!!! It can last up to a week sometimes. It feels like I have a full body bruise under my skin. It hurts to be touched, hugged, wear t-shirts. And then I wake up one morning and it’s gone again. I’ve tried to explain that one to drs before and they look at me like im crazy. But it’s sooo painful.
Thank you again from the bottom of my heart!
Now I know what is wrong or atleast where to start.
Is there natural remedies that truely help?
Melissa (from British Columbia)
There are certainly natural remedies that can help! I recommend calling our front desk and scheduling with one of our functional medicine providers. They can meet with you using Telemedicine, go through your history and symptoms, and get you started on a plan.
Our scheduling department can be reached at 773-296-6700.
Hope this helps!
I don’t have a diagnosis but about there months ago both of my forearms went numb. I have a positive ANA but other specific tests were negative. My symptoms have worsened to extreme widespread pain in beck shoulders arms and back. I have light sensitivity and cold sensitivity and answered yes to almost every question asked.
I’ve just recently started researching fibromyalgia. I pretty much said yes to all of the questions. I also feel like I’ve been on the spectrum of it for the last several years, all the symptoms match. I’m 26 years old and feel like I’m 100 every day. My whole body hurts, there’s not a day that goes by that something doesn’t hurt. I have a handicap child who requires my full assistance to do anything she needs (bathroom, bathing, moving ). I blamed it on her for a long time now I’m really thinking it’s not just her. I’m nervous about approaching my GP, he’s a great Dr but I’m afraid he will just brush it off. Any advice is welcomed greatly
Hi Callie –
Nervousness in approaching your doctor about this kind of thing is so common, and it highlights the importance of having a good, open relationship with the health care providers you choose. If you feel comfortable discussing this with him, it’s certainly a good idea that you do so, especially if he has known you for a while. You can even mention your concerns in light of how often fibro symptoms are brushed off. If you feel like you’re not being heard, and if you’re in the Chicago area, I definitely recommend coming in to see one of our primary care providers. If you’re not in the area, this is a good resource to help you find a functional medicine provider in your area.
Hope this helps, and best of luck to you!
I am currently pretty certain that i have fibromyalgia, i have had all of symptoms for almost 3 years now and id no idea what it was, had never heard of the condition and i didnt speak to my dr about it as i felt like there was so many things wrong with me i didnt know where to start, what to prioritize and i thought he would just think i was a moaner!! I was being treated for depression so if i ever brought up issues with pain, they were reluctant to help as they assumed i was trying to get my hands on pain killers for the purpose of overdosing so i just never said anything and ive suffered in silence. Ive lost one job after another due to literally not being able to get out of bed some mornings or having so little energy that i xant concentrate, make mistakes and dont get anything done. I felt as though people just thought i was lazy and disrespectful when in actual fact i was exhausted and aching and i couldnt remember my own name half the time!! I now dont work and i very rarely leave my bedroom. I only go out doors if its absolitely unavoidable. My OH does all the chores, shopping etc and i do only what is necessary. Im ashamed to admit but there have been times when ive gone more than 10 days without showering or changing clothes, and when i say clothes i rarely wear anything other than bed clothing, pjs etc.i eat my meals in bed, the dishes get left unwashed for ages sometimes, i dont have a life anymore i simply exist, i wake up, watch tv in bed, go sleep, repeat, over and over. If i do get up and prepare a meal or do the dishes, i feel like ive run a marathon!! The agony in my back, abdonen and arms from simply 10 minutes of washing up is similar to that after a 2 hour weights session in the gym, its unbelievable how hard everything is, and my husband is very patient but he really doesnt understand! He hasnt ever said so but i think he thinks im bone idle! I never initiate sex simply because the effort is exhausting. I dont turn him down, but if he doesnt initiate it im quite relieved that i dont have to as the activity wears me out, thats not to say i dont enjoy it, i do, but it depletes all my energy and the pain afterwards is excruciating. It hirts also wgen i pee, as thiugh im passing acid its a stinging aching sensation that brings tears to my eyes as though my eurethra is too tight or scarred, not a burning that could be water infection, its not that kind of pain. I hope there is something my dr can do, i want my life back!! What do you guys do to eleiviate your symptoms? Even a tiny bit of relief wiuld be better than nothing at all.
Carole. If you are local to Chicago, you might make an appointment with one of our docs who might be able to assist you in identifying the underlying cause of your symptoms. If you are not local, best to find a fibromyalgia literate doctor in your area. You might also get checked for Lyme disease as symptoms can be similar especially with chronic Lyme disease.
How much does it typically cost out of pocket to see a rheumatologist? And about how many visits does it normally take to get a diagnosis? I’m in the military and it’s very hard trying to get my doctor to refer to see a specialist. He initially thought I had lupus but tested negative now he’s throwing random diagnosis at me but my vitamin D was low so he said that could be why I’m having all of the symptoms I’m having.
Out-of-pocket costs to see a specialist can be extraordinarily expensive. If you’re deployed, see if it might be possible to use your health insurance when you’re back home to see a specialist to whom you don’t need a referral. Otherwise, if you can’t get a referral from the primary care doc you currently see, consider asking for another primary care physician.
Hope this helps,
I have been suffering for over 3 years with random bouts of numbness, stiffness, tingling, restless legs and body, exhaustion, brain fog, depression, etc. At my worst, I was bed ridden for 2 months and tested for everything under the sun including MS, Lupus, etc. and everything came back completely normal. I feel like I have many of the symptoms of Fibromyalgia based on the above list, but there isn’t one doctor whom I’ve seen that can make a definitive diagnosis.
Hi Medina – if you’re close to WholeHealth, any of us would be happy to help. If not, google the Institute for Functional Medicine to find like-minded clinicians.
Best to you,
This sounds exactly like fibromyalgia. If you are an e reader you can download a copy of my book “Healing Fibromyalgia” to confirm your suspicions. Personally, I never order nerve conduction tests when I suspect fibro as they’re quite uncomfortable and always painful.Most rheumatologists are getting very familiar with fibro and can usually make the diagnosis in a few minutes
My doctor thinks I might have fibro. I said yes to so many questions in the quiz. From the description of people that have fibro, my symptoms sound very similar. Extreme tiredness, pain in neck, shoulders, arms (numb after waking every day too), breasts, back, hips, knees, legs, feet, get worse with stress/not sleeping. So hard to sleep and stay asleep and never wake up feeling refreshed. I have lived with this pain for quite a while but this year it was much worse (I have a 16 month old, and had postpar tum depression) And the tiredness much worse now too. I used to have depression (not currently), I have IBS, endometriosis, and severe PMS (very snappy and moody), and severe period pain as well. I only get the mental fog when in intense pain though. I took amitryptiline for a week which improved the pain and sleep, but made me so drowsy during the day I had to come off it. I was taking an anti inflammatory prescribed too, but only dampened pain slightly and my doctor said to only take it for three weeks. Now I’m not on either medication, and in intense pain, Ibuprofen does hardly anything. My question is, is it most likely to be fibro or perhaps arthritis (my joints hurt too)? My doctor suggested a nerve conduction test with a neurologist for the numbness in my hands. Should I have this done? Also I had severe sharp pains and background dull breast pain on the left side for many months – but after two ultrasounds, including one specialised AVBS one, they couldn’t find anything wrong with the breast tissue itself. Would this be related to the possible fibro or unrelated? Not sure what tests if any to ask my doctor for. Would really appreciate any advice. I’m in Australia too – the only person I have seen is my GP, not sure if I need to see a specialist or not. Thank you.
I have a lot of symptoms that are mentioned in fibro but mine just don’t saying as serious as everyone else’s story. Then pain has been coming and going for a 6 or so months now and I keep putting of the going to the doctor because I’m scared that it’ll be a waste of time since my symptoms don’t sound as serious.
Ache in legs and arms
Hi Sam – if you’re in the Chicago, any physician or integrative nurse practitioner would be happy to see you. We absolutely understand the fear patients have of not being taken seriously. Many patients come to us after having been to lots of doctors who brushed off their symptoms. If you’re not in the Chicago area, google the Institute for Functional Medicine to find like-minded clinicians.
best to you,
I am 17, over the past (approx.) 2 months I have been very tired all of the time. Even if I get lots of sleep I always wake up feeling like I can’t even get up and this lasts usually around 30 mins- an hour. I get tired very easily, and I have also been experiencing back pain all over and random pains in different concentrated areas of my body usually lasting anywhere from 5 mins to two or three days. I have very painful and emotional cycles. Also have had more frequent headaches. I recently had very sharp and aching (almost like throbbing and pulsing) pains in my upper neck, close to my ear that shot all the way through my shoulder. At first I considered it neck pain but I’m not sure if that’s what it would be or if it’s some weird headache? My aunt does have fibromyalgia and I’ve been to the doctor who told me everything looked normal including blood tests. They are having me go to pt but I feel like I’m not getting any answers.
Hi Jordan – It sounds like you might want to consider a second opinion. If you’re in the Chicago area, I or any of my physician or Nurse Practitioner colleagues would be happy to help. If not, google the Institute for Functional Medicine to find like-minded clinicians.
Best to you,
After sustaining a labral tear, many muscles surrounding the area go into a painful spasm with some tender points. It’s actually part of the healing process.
This does not sound at all like fibro
Hi i am 24
I had a fall on my outstretched arm 1.5 months back which started with my right shoulder pain. Took treatment for 1 ‘month but didnt relieve my symptmos. And since then have started with anxiety and started thinking about different different diagnosis on my own by reading on internet which made me more anxious. Recently have diagnosed with labral tear after MRI scan and i am now on medicines. As I have travelled long for the treartment I have distrubed sleep patterns .
Since last week i have also started with 2-3 tender point on my neck and back. In my medicine course prescribed by my doctor there is one medicine which is pregablin.
I just want to know that am I landed up into FIBRO??or am I landing up into fibro?? I am really worrying
I have been reading up on this and I suffer most of the symptoms mentioned. I also have IBS, Arthritis, and depression. My back, neck, and legs ache and burn all the time. Some days I’m full of beans then others I can’t get up of sofa. I’m diabetic to I have just moved to new doctors. Not sure how to proceed. I answered yes to 90% of the above quiz
Hi Susan – Finding a functional medicine doctor or nurse practitioner with whom you can consult is probably best. You can stick to the doctors who are helping with the diabetes, but findings someone open to the diagnosis of fibromyalgia helps, and they can collaborate with your current medical providers as well. If you’re in the Chicago area, we at WHC are here to help!
Wow. I’ve always thought I was broken. I’m so surprised I answered the questions so honestly and now I’m facing this. Yikes. It kind of scares me. But I feel relieved it’s not just in my head or I’m being overly sensitive. I need to talk to a doctor about it but I don’t have insurance. I don’t want to go in and say I took a quiz! I have this! How do I go about talking to my doctor about it? Even if it’s at like an urgent care? Please help!! But thank you also for writing this out. Feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel!
Liz. You need to find a doctor who understands and treats fibromyalgia.
So, I’m 15, and I’ve been experiencing a lot of pain for a while??? I wake up really sore, and it never goes away, but I figured this was normal, so I ignored it. I have no idea how long I’ve had this constant ache. I mentioned it to my friends, and the general agreement was that, no, this wasn’t very normal. I’m always tired, and every day, it’s like a random vending machine of pain- what’s gonna hurt today? My neck, my legs, my spine, my arms, my chest, my pelvis, or all of them? No clue! So. Yeah.
This sounds very much like fibro. If you’re not getting help from your primary, make an appointment with a pain management specialist
I’ve been trying to find out what is wrong with me for over 10 years but the last year has become crucial because the pain is becoming unbearable. I went to my primary but really didnt think about having fibromaylgia. I ready the problems you may have if you have it and it fit’s me to a T. I just lost my best friend my mom last christmas and I had to have knee surgery and hand surgery soon after her passing. I really cant bare this much more, I’ll call my primary on monday to find out what my blood work said. I’m grabing onto anything right now. No worries I’m not the type to hurt myself or anyone else! I NEED HELP!!!!!
Truly beneficial, look forwards to coming back again
I am 16 years old and have had chronic pain for over a year and a half. I did have it when I was younger but not as severe. I have pain in both knees and hips, lower back, upper back and neck. I often suffer from lack of movement and it’s sounds stupid but I can always predict the weather as my pain gets worse. I’ve been on tramodol and codeine and medicated plasters but nothing helps. I also have constant headaches and dizziness, migraines about 3 times a week, this involves light and noise sensitivity. I’ve had constipation since I was born and severe period pains in which I faint and get worse headaches. All my tests have came back clear and no reason can be given for the amount of pain I get each day. I have also been diagnosed with anxiety and depression, also I show traits of OCD. My sleep in generally not great, I struggle to fall asleep and when I do I wake up frequently, no matter how long I sleep for I am constantly tired and struggle to concentrate with simple tasks constantly getting confused. My college day tires me out so much that I usually get home and sleep but then can’t sleep through the night. Do you recommend I mention fibromyalgia to my doctor?
Kelsi. Yes, having a conversation regarding fibromyalgia with your primary care physician would be a very good idea. We’d probably recommend having blood work performed to rule out Lyme disease as well. At WholeHealth Chicago we spend quite a bit of time with our patients detailing their biography to understand their life; this is often invaluable. Good luck.
25 years ago I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia(several years after it’s onset -auto accident). I suffered for many years in debilitating pain, stiffness and limited mobility. I was no longer able to work, exercise and even basic, daily tasks were very difficult. Although the pain in my body(neck, back, L shoulder) was often severe, the cluster migraine headaches were the bane of my existence. I too had to deal with doubt from family/friends and doctors as I navigated for treatments both mainstream and holistic. I became a guinea pig for new/upcoming treatments/therapies – Prolotherapy/Botox……and so on – all of which gave no relief. I was in a very bad marriage and living states away from my closest family member or friend. Isolation was counteracted with the adoption of a dog and being proactive in my desire/fight for better health and quality of life. At that point, I was merely existing, but nit giving up by any means. Being a physical person all of my life, I knew I couldn’t just lay around all day/night, although that is exactly what I felt like doing. I had to move my body to the best of my ability on each given day, even if that meant I could only do simple arm raises that day. I focused on gratitude, making sure to write something I was grateful for each day……..the sun shining through my window, a delicious strawberry, a visit from a friend, a snuggle with my pup, a little less pain, etc.. As years passed and my energies, both physical and mental were wearing thin, I had to make a very difficult decision – I decided to put myself first, to do everything I possibly could to acquire improved health, less pain and a better quality of life. I left my husband(abusive – mostly mentally), moved back with my parent(w/my three pups) and proceeded to slowly but surely gain some composer, then made a plan, actually two plans – a SHORT TERMS GOAL PLAN(ex – find new Dr., express feelings, don’t isolate) & a LONG TERMS GOAL PLAN (ex – go hiking/biking, be employed member of society, meet new friends, find love) to which I listed everything I wanted to attain. I know this may sound futile, but intentions, no matter how far from our reality at the present moment, can drive our quest/desire/fight – PERSEVERANCE. I found a treatment (Atlas Orthogonal Procedure), which proved helpful, a change in diet and a couple supplements which supported my efforts, as I worked my way though the lists. It was not an easy road, by anyone’s definition, but it was my journey to improved health and a beautiful life filled with love and joy.
I know how excruciating, debilitating, isolating, and frightening it can be while in the grasps of this illness, but plead with you to keep on reaching….never give up & never give in! You are worth every search for relief and a better quality of life. I found what helped me, but you may require something very different, pleas just do what you can to keep yourself above water until you find it.
PS – I made a profound link between a condition (Candidiasis), which I was diagnosed with as an early teen, thus aiding in my understanding of what my body needed to get on track(no sugar,wheat, peanuts,etc.) and the addition of Chlorella –
Thank you for making this quiz. I have hashimotos thyroiditis and was diagnosed when I was 16. I have dealt with so many symptoms over the past 19 years. Over the past 2 years my doctor has suggested fibro due to all blood tests being normal. I had my doubts because the thyroid symptoms mimic the fibro symptoms and I didn’t nessasarily fit into the “certain pressure points of pain”. I have always had widespread pain everydays seems like I get a new one. I hobble around the house every morning like I’m 80yrs old.
Over the last year and even after an mri for memory problems I have been really researching fibro more. But the problem I kept running into was the fact I always had pain trying to differentiate between of it was truly fibro pain or normal or from my thyroid. This quiz really helped me with trying to figure out if it truly was fibro. I answered yes to most of the questions which really surprised me. I now feel confident in accepting the dianoses and the next steps to treatment. Thank you.
I have been suffering for about 3 years now consistently. I have been in the ER twice for debilitating pain in my neck at the base of my skull and into my shoulders with trouble breathing and numbness in my face. The second time I became so confused driving on the interstate that I couldn’t continue on and stopped in the road. I was told that I passed out after that incident and I woke up the next day. Since then I have had other weird things that send me to the Dr. I have a recurring rash that is unexplained and stays about 2 weeks each time and then clears up on its own. I have developed such bad pain in my left hand and my hips that I can barely use my hand and my hips hurt so bad I can never get comfortable. I Have a mental fog for lack of a better explanation for it. I have trouble remembering what I have done or said even earlier in the same day. I will sometimes loose the ability to get my words out in the middle of a conversation which is very frustrating to say the least. Most recently I have been dealing with severe exhaustion and my limbs feel like they are to heavy to move. I have had to stop taking the steps at work because I get dizzy and my legs are wobbly. I do have IBS and take medication for that. I also have TMJ. I have been tested for lupus, rheumatoid arthritis , Celiac and Crohn’s , I have had allergy tests for the skin rash, I have had CT and MRI to rule out MS. I do take Levothyroxine and my levels are normal and My vitamin D is low and I just finished a 50000 unit dose to bring it up. My home life and work life suffer greatly and all I hear from each dr is that maybe its anxiety. And then I cry…which concretes their diagnosis …but Im crying out of frustration not anxiety. I have almost decided that I am just crazy. Oh i almost forgot…I have an ever present numbness in the side of my foot and bad knees. So basically Im falling apart from the inside out…or maybe this is just all in my head!
I stumbled across this quiz as I wanted to brush up on my symptoms as my lack of circulation in my arm and leg went into overdrive a few hours ago and my hands and feet feel like I just walked through the wrong door into an igloo as the door slammed behind me locking and grinning from icicle to icicle.
I was diagnosed over 10 years ago after jumping from Doctor to Doctor hospital to hospital finally making my way to the Mayo Clinic where I was poked and prodded for a week to be told that I had Fibromyalgia. Ten years later I am finding it more and more difficult to make it through the day. Going through the quiz and I have said yes to every single question but 2. I didn’t think I had any more tears left today, until I realized how I feel like this Disease is yet again slowly destroying my life. I had some time in the middle where I felt like I was turning it around this was after my husband leaving me as he did not believe or understand fibro, custody battle for years and years trying to use Fibro against me, in the midst of all of this my mom died suddenly, my only and biggest supporter who understood because she too was diagnosed with Fibro. I moved back to Pennsylvania moving in with my mom after my divorce as I was homeless jobless family-less in Florida, my son and I then lived with my mom….I was okay for awhile and still had my doctors in Florida. I began to do much better, I met my now husband who is almost as wonderful and understanding as my mom was (I know she brought him to me). I thought I was kicking ass but I never found a doctor here. I have now been off of my medications for over 3 years and little by little (a lot by a lot) each flare gets worse and worse, which made it harder and harder to keep my job- losing my health insurance. I am also now dealing with a new family (& friends)whom as wonderful as they are, not all understand or believe my symptoms (and they are doctors which kills me). I’m so scared of losing everything again… I am in a Fibro fog cycle 24hrs a day with debilitating flare ups monthly. I need help finding a doctor that understands and knows about this and who can bring me back to life. I look around my house and I scream into my pillow – I’m so angry with myself and want so much more for my husband….he deserves so much more. I’m outside of Philadelphia and I am in need and reaching out. If anyone knows of someone in my area or has any suggestions…. I’ve tried it all but I need an doctor and I need an advocate.
Thank you so much in advance,
Courtney. You can google the Institute for Functional Medicine for other like-minded physicians in your area.
This really does sound like you’ve developed what’s termed “post-traumatic fibromyalgia.” Your version triggered by a combination of the injuries you described and your significant biographical issues. I would suggest finding someone in your area who does myofascial release therapy (preferably trained by John Barnes) and ask your doctor about using the time release muscle relaxant Amrix
Hi, I’ve suffered with chronic health conditions most of my life. Last year after my IBSD was healed (through emotional healing) I started working at the humane society as well as running a fundraiser by myself and various other obligations and usual chores, on top of moving back home (I had left to resolve these health issues). One night my shoulder made 3-4 rapid succession pops and about 20 mins later the pain came on. By the next morning I literally couldn’t move my arm- initial diagnosis was rotator cuff. Things seemed to be getting better with physical therapy until I caught myself on the bus wrong and it hasn’t gotten much better since, very slow healing and not able to do much lifting still, but now the other shoulder, my right elbow, my right wrist and surrounding area, and this headache that has lasted almost 4 weeks straight (with only minor relief lasting a few hours at most). Drs have set up nerve conductor test and to meet with a dr to look at my joints- I eat healthy and have been healed of food allergies. What are your thoughts? I am also a survivor of child abuse and trauma.
I have used every drug and nothing is working, wanted to know if using medical marajuana would help, I am so tired of this pain, sometimes it is so bad I cry
Hi Sylvie – We’ve had a number of patients get good results using medical marijuana. State by state the regulations are different; we suggest speaking with your doctor about the use of medical marijuana. Getting into a good talk therapy program such as one-on-one counseling is also helpful to managing chronic pain, as is meditation such as using Mindfulness Meditation. We have a monthly mindfulness group at WholeHealth that can help people with chronic pain. Here’s a link to the workshop: https://wholehealthchicago.com/2015/07/02/monthly-mindfulness-group/
Hope this helps!
Thank you, but I live in ontario, canada
Your Mom should probably stop the Motrin as this may be worsening your stomach. It also sounds as if you may have fibromyalgia which isn’t dangerous but can make you very uncomfortable. See if your Mom can arrange an appointment with a rheumatologist or a neurologist to see if this is the diagnosis
I’m 13 and I have CP. My arms started hurting a long time ago and I thought it was because of my cp buuut I don’t think CP spreads from my knowledge. I’m also depressed and have anxiety. The past month my abdomen has been hurting really bad and now the back of my neck /upper back have been aching. The other night my abdomen hurt so bad that I couldn’t get out of bed and whenever somebody tried to touch me, it hurt more. My mom has been giving me motrin (if that’s how you spell it) but it doesn’t seem to be helping even though she’s giving me the amount the doctor told her to. The past month, I’ve also been getting horrible headaches and I’ve constantly been urinating. Is it just because of stress? I know I’m really sensitive and tend to over think things so I get stressed easily. And I also just went to a crisis center last week which really stressed me out. I’m only 13 though…? I told my mom I have pain but she doesn’t seem to be doing anything but giving me motrin and it really doesn’t help. The pain has been going on for a long time now and I don’t know what to do.
Also, when fibromyalgia is at its worse, have others suffered with ringing in the ears too? That’s also on my list of symptoms and it’s extremely bothersome.
This information is very helpful! I believe I have been suffering with fibromyalgia for years, but not recognizing it even though my mom & grandma were diagnosed. I’m in the throws of it currently. It started with a migraine headache, then widespread muscle pain partnered with exhaustion, trouble sleeping & depression. I’ve suffered with/through this routine on and off for years. I knew that fibromyalgia was muscle pain & tiredness; I did not know that all the other symptoms were related until doing research lately. For 30 some years I thought I was simply prone to depression, “sinus-triggered” headaches, “laziness” (when the exhaustion hit) & easily sore, usually achy muscles. I’m convinced I’m afflicted with fibromyalgia & although that’s daunting, I’m relieved to understand my body & brain. I will be seeking out a good medical practitioner to assist with treatment options & getting your book Dr. E. Thank you again for the information. Am curious, has there been research on a genetic link to the condition? None of my research has addressed that.
Thank you so much for this. I have approached my Dr more than once because I believe whole heartedly I have fibro but he says he thinks I’m depressed that’s it 🙁 I answered yes to almost AL your questions I am going to try and be more adamant for testing as I don’t know how much longer I can live like this without help thanks again
I have had widespread pain now for a couple years. i have gone and had facet injections on my upper back, neck and shoulders, and a rhizotomy done on my lower back, both with some slight relief. Now they pain is coming back. I have also been to a ciropractor for a couple years now only with a day or 2 of relief. I have had countless MRIs, bone speck scans, and blood tests. Both my PCP and my Pain mangement doctor think im making this all up. When i asked my pain doctor if i could have fibro, she laughed it off and said that fibro is just a Dx when all else fails. I really dont know what to do anymore. I very stiff and achy all the time, otc meds dont even make a dent in the way i feel. My pain is mainly my back, neck and shoulders. I do get a lot a migraine headaches too that my PCP has me on meds for.
I suspect your doctor is reluctant to diagnose you with fibro because although your pain sounds quite severe, it is not as widespread as we normally see with fibro. If you’ve not yet seen a good chiropractor, that would be my suggestion about what to do next
I have thought fibromyalgia could be the reason for all of the issues that I currently have however my doctor seems to think differently. I have horrible pain and stiffness in my middle back I have had spinal injections numerous times ( nothing seems to work) I have horrible hip pain which runs down the sides of my legs. I also get pain in my rib cage and sternum. I also get numbness and tingling in my arms and fingers. I get migraine headaches. I was also diagnosed with bi-polar disease two years ago. They currently treat me for depression, anxiety, and sleep issues. I have periods where I sleep for days and still feel no relief. I am always tired and moody. Could this be fibromyalgia ?
I’ve been suffering with so many symptoms lately and I thought I was crazy!when I read the second half of the questionnaire I was amazed that I’ve been dealing with all those symptoms since I was a child now I’m 25 and everything is progressively worse,and the pain and fatigue are setting in. I’ve hesitated to go to the doctor because I was nervous they’d find absolutely no problems. I’m quite certain I’ve found my diagnosis and I’m very greatful for your information now I must convince my doctor to look into this because I’m going crazy and I thought I was all alone. Thank you so much for your time in sharing this.
Hi, I’m 15 and last year during freshmen year, I began experiencing wretched symptoms relating to fribromyalgia. I was tested for a couple of months and even went to a rhuemetologist. Everyone said I was fine. All of the pain went away, the fatigue and everything else. I was afraid it would come back, and to my dissatisfaction, it’s has. I’m at a complete loss of what to do, everyone thinks I’m making up these symptoms, and none of my doctors can find anything wrong with me. I have pain in all four quadrants, I have tension headaches, EXTREME fatigue, and my neck has just started to hurt badly. I’m at a loss of what to do, I’m only 15 and I feel like I’m dying. What can I do? What do you think is wrong with me? Am I just crazy? Please help 🙁
Anonymous. Consult with your parents and find a doctor who will take your symptoms seriously. Dr. Edelberg’s book, “Healing Fibromyalgia” may be a good resource for you.
Thanks so much, I’ll look into that. Quitting dance was very hard for me and though it’s been several years I know I still haven’t dealt with that and a lot of other things. I appreciate the help!
I have allergy to mould spores, sensitive / easily upset stomach, sensitivities to perfumes & chemicals (mum & maternal grandmother also have/had), have been treated for acute stress, ptsd & depression for past yr – although have had depression for years.
Mum has fibro myalgia & believes I may have it too. Am nervous about aporoaching my GP as I’m not sure if she will take me seriously or if she will put it all down to my depression. PTSD has been treated & I no longer have panic attacks.
What is your opinion? Do you believe I may have Fibro Myalgia … or is it all in my head?
Hi Debbie –
Having fibro can certainly overlap other conditions (mold spore sensitivity, environmental allergies, etc) and can make the experience of having other medical concerns more difficult. Fibro is generally thought of as a myriad of symptoms that develop as a result of having an overly taxed system with an inadequate neurological stress buffer we know as the neurotransmitter serotonin; with this in mind, your history of dealing with depression feeds into all of this. In the United States, we usually suggest you google the Institute for Functional Medicine for health care providers who will look at things a little differently than many in mainstream medicine. If you’re having trouble getting help from you GP, you may want to consider reaching out to similar groups in your neck of the woods.
Hope this helps; wishing you the very best,
This really sounds like symptoms of what have been called the fibromyalgia spectrum of symptoms and your initial trigger was the car accident and the emotional stress that followed perpetuated your symptoms. I suspect that quitting dancing was really emotionally hard for you. I don’t know if you live in a city where there is a Healing Touch practitioner or a Barnes Myofascial Release practitioner but my best guess is that you need help releasing the trauma (physical and emotional) of all you’ve been through. You can read about how muscles retain emotional pain in my book “Healing Fibromyalgia”
I’m genuinely wondering if I could have fibromyalgia. I’m 28, and when I was 19 I was in a car accident that gave me severe whiplash. I was told to quit dancing (I did for 17 years), but I couldn’t and it felt like my neck and back never quite healed. When I was around 21, I started having pelvic pain and was diagnosed with PCOS and endometriosis. None of the treatments for endo have helped and I have some anxiety and depression issues. Very strange things cause me intense stress, making me physically sick to my stomach and anything that I smelled during that onset becomes like a “trigger” to me. If I smell or see something that reminds me of a particular time, I have intense anxiety that will last for a few days and cause a lot guilt. I now have several things I avoid as to not have this happen. I’ve felt like something has been going on for a while, in the sense that maybe these aren’t separate issues but rather a whole illness. My shoulders hurt so bad sometimes it feels like they’re right under my ears, in fact my whole neck, jaw and back feel like that. I just always feel achy, like I’m just getting or getting over a virus. Do you have any advice?
Hi I’m 19 years old, my mother, grandmother and great – grandmother all have fibromyalgia and I’ve only recently started to suffer from some of the symptoms, I’ve been to the doctors however they did not appear overly concerned. I wondered how likely it is for me to also have the illness and what the triggers are as I’ve been under a lot of stress recently and this seems to be when the symptoms started. I feel that I might be jumping to conclusions because most of my family have it and it’s easier just to assume I have it? When the pain and fatigue first started I also completely stopped my period and have not had one for over three months, is this linked in any way?
Jessica. There are many articles regarding fibromyalgia on our website under Knowledge Base. In addition, Dr. Edelberg has written two books, “Healing Fibromyalgia” and “The Triple Whammy Cure”. These resources will answer most of your questions and give you suggestions for some self-diagnosis and treatment. Good luck.
I’ve had 7 foot surgeries, bone fusions, hardware installed & removed, scar tissue removed, tendons cut & reattached & so on. My feet hurt & have ruined my life. Now my knees are hurting & so is the rest of my body. I looked up why does my nose get stuffy every time I eat I read it is a symptom of fibromyalgia. Could I have fibromyalgia also?
Fibromyalgia is certainly a possibility, however given the extensive amount of surgery you’ve had on your feet, your pain may be due to mechanical changes and strain on your joints, and the stuffy nose after eating could be due to your body’s over-reaction to whatever you’re eating; a condition commonly called “leaky gut syndrome” and food sensitivities. It would be worthwhile to discuss these symptoms with your doctor. You can also find helpful healthcare resources in your area here Seeing a good chiropractic physician in your area to assess joint problems in your feet and knees could also be a helpful healthcare resource. Hope this is helpful!
I have been diagnosed with autonomic and peripheral neurophathy. Is it possible to also have fibromyalgia? Neurophathy runs in my family and everyone else’s is localized where mine is widespread
Celexa has never been shown to be particularly useful for fibromyalgia. You might want to see my book “Healing Fibromyalgia” for both natural and pharmaceutical treatments
I am 17 and have recently been diagnosed with fibro. I am currently on celexa but I haven’t noticed much of a change. Any advice?
I am 16, and I have nearly all of the symptoms of Fibromyalgia. I really feel like I have it because my mom has it, and I know it runs in our family, but I heard it’s really hard to diagnose it. I don’t know what to do. Any advice?
I’m only 17 and I feel like I have it too but I have no idea. I’ve been having left chest pain that slowly spread to other areas like my left side and upper left back and now I suddenly feel like all of my ribs hurt in addition to that. Someone, please help us
And mine started in January and I’ve already been tested for heart problems
When people have food sensitivities, there are really only six culprit foods: dairy, egg, corn, gluten, citrus and soy. Easiest way to test: eliminate all six completely for three weeks. If you feel exactly the same, then food sensitivities are unlikely. If you feel better, reintroduce one food group every three days. This way you’ll reveal the culprit food(s)
What happens if you answer yes to all but one of all if the questions
Dr. Edelberg, Thank you for the array of advice and conversations on so many diverse topics. I stumbled onto your site today while looking for information on fibromyalgia. I have been going through another very difficult period in which medications begin to not work, and pain heightens to unbearable levels. I am currently trying Savella, in exchange of Cymbalta and Lyrica. Pain meds are, I feel, band aids to which I wish I would never have to take. I took your test on Fibro and could not believe the correlations between my symptoms and questions that you posed. Number 17 hit hard, and “yes” to many of the questions really made me think back to a life of overlapping situations and corresponding symptoms. I would like to begin by taking your advice about food allergies. Please advise me on cost and ordering. If anything can be sought out to help, I am up for trying. Thank you for your insightful web site. Peggy H.