The fibromyalgia symptom checklist was developed to help quantify and standardize the diagnosis of fibromyalgia syndrome. Medical doctors have not agreed on the cause or exact symptoms of fibromyalgia. However, medicine also needs to organize and label conditions based on common symptomatic criteria. It is a compromise that the criteria detailed in this article have been established to accurately diagnose FMS. Being that fibromyalgia is such an intense, diverse and case-specific pain syndrome, the very notion of a symptom checklist should be largely insulting to victims of the disorder.
The development of this checklist has cause more people to be unnecessarily labeled with chronic pain than any other source related to FMS. Being told that you have fibromyalgia is one of the major reasons why patients get worse; not better.
It is painfully obvious that these criteria are used for one express purpose: To classify the disease and therefore justify treatment using whatever method of care is available. Judging by both the ineffectiveness and profitability of FMS care, you must decide for yourself whether the actual goal here is to help any patients or simply to make lots of money trying.
Here is the overly simplistic criteria used to justify a diagnosis of FMS:
Try not to laugh:
Pain in all four quadrants of the body for a minimum of 3 months.
Pain and tenderness in at least 11 of 18 points shown on the diagram at the top of the page.
There is no mention of a possible reason why these symptoms might occur. This is because doctors have no concrete ideas as to the source. If you think creatively, you can make almost any severe and chronic health condition fit the FMS description.
These are standardized diagnostic criteria, but are not absolute or universally applied. Many doctors will diagnose fibromyalgia in patients who do not meet the minimum 11 points of tenderness criteria. Some patients have stronger primary pain zones and still meet other diagnostic criteria.
The only thing that is very clear about fibromyalgia symptoms is that they are highly individualized and are impossible to measure up to a standard or common case profile.
If I were a fibromyalgia patient, I would be furious at this debacle. I would take my cause to the various medical boards and start with the ones governing rheumatology. I would not stand by idly while doctors make a mockery of my suffering, or that endured by my fellow patients, just to make their fiscal dreams a reality. I might even start writing about FMS truths on the internet, in the hopes that enough people might get involved on a local level to make a real difference. Luckily for fibromyalgia specialists, I am not a FMS patient, just someone who loves them all and hopes for their recovery daily.