Fibromyalgia Misdiagnosis: What Else Could it Be?
June 6, 2016
By David M. Brady, ND, DC, CCN, DACBN, author of The Fibro-Fix with Michael J. Schneider, DC, PhDIt is important to know that only a small number of patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia actually suffer from this classic variety of the syndrome. As many as to 2/3 of people who are told they have fibromyalgia have actually received a fibromyalgia misdiagnosis and are really suffering from another problem. Fibromyalgia is the correct diagnosis only when all other medical and functional conditions have been ruled out.Doctors often use the single word fibromyalgia to diagnose a complex of symptoms that can have multiple causes. Worse yet, doctors often prescribe the same treatment package to all the patients they label with the term fibromyalgia. It is like using the term back pain and prescribing muscle relaxers to all patients with back pain. Sometimes the one-size-fits-all prescription may help patients get better, but not usually.There are 3 broad categories of these conditions - other than classic Fibromyalgia - that are most often the cause of widespread pain and fatigue. Unfortunately, the standard treatment approach for classic Fibromyalgia will not help patients with pain and fatigue caused by conditions within any of these 3 categories.So what’s the solution to this dilemma? Actually the answer is simple. Find the cause of the widespread pain and fatigue, and prescribe treatments that eliminate that cause.
What Else Could it Be?Medical problems that may cause widespread pain and fatigue. Examples include hypothyroidism, anemia, MS, inflammatory arthropathies, autoimmune connective tissue disorders, and small fiber polyneuropathy.In patients who complain about generalized pain and fatigue, it is imperative that the doctor rule-out the presence of any medical condition or disease that is known to cause many of the symptoms associated with classic FM. Hypothyroidism, anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, Lyme disease, rheumatic auto-immune disorders such as ankylosing spondylitis (AS) or scleroderma, multiple sclerosis, small fiber polyneuropathy, and cancer are some possible causes for symptoms of vague and diffuse body pain associated with pronounced fatigue. Most of the medical assessment appropriate in this type of situation comes in the form of laboratory testing, to include any or all of the following screening tests:
- Complete red and white blood cell count with white cell differential
- Thyroid function tests; (total and free T3 & T4, TSH, and thyroid antibodies)
- Standard blood chemistry
- C-reactive protein (CRP) and/or erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
- Lyme, co-infections and rheumatic/autoimmune profiles (as necessary)
Download the Following Whitepaper to Learn More about How to Properly Diagnose Fibromyalgia: