Current Definition & Criteria
for being diagnosed with FMS
The American College of Rheumatology first proposed the current criteria for defining FMS. The diagnosis requires that all three of the major criteria, and four or more of the minor criteria, be present:

Major Criteria:

1. Generalized aches or stiffness of at least three anatomical sites for at least three months

2. Six or more typical, reproducible tender points

3. Exclusion of other disorders that can cause similar symptoms

Minor Criteria:

1. Generalized fatigue

2. Chronic headache

3. Sleep disturbance

4. Neurological and psychological complaints

5. Numbing or tingling sensations

6. Irritable bowel syndrome

7. Variation of symptoms in relation to activity, stress, and weather changes

8. Depression

It's reported that only 2% of the population meet all he criteria of the American College of Rheumatology. This estimate is much too low. There are some problems with the ACR criteria. The biggest being many individuals with FMS meet some of the criteria but not all of it. Most of these individuals have other symptoms associated with FMS not explicitly outlined in the ACR criteria. They may have insomnia, irritable bowel, fatigue, mental confusion, and only 4 of the 18 trigger points. Or they may have insomnia, fatigue and 5 reproducible tender points. Although the minor criteria represent the most frequent and usual symptoms associated with FMS, it doesn't account for all of the various conditions seen in FMS patients.

The following is a more detailed list of potential symptoms that patients may experience:

Sleep disturbances: Sufferers may not feel refreshed, despite getting adequate amounts of sleep. They may also have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.

Stiffness: Body stiffness is present in most patients. Weather changes and remaining in one position for a long period of time contributes to the problem. Stiffness may also be present upon awakening.

Headaches and facial pain: Headaches may be caused by associated tenderness in the neck and shoulder area or soft tissue around the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

Abdominal discomfort: Irritable bowel syndrome including such symptoms as digestive disturbances, abdominal pain and bloating, constipation, and diarrhea may be present.

Irritable Bladder: An increase in urinary frequency and a greater urgency to urinate may be present.

Numbness or tingling: Known as parathesia, symptoms include a prickling or burning sensation in the extremities.

Chest Pain: Muscular pain at the point where the ribs meet the chest bone may occur.

Cognitive Disorders: The symptoms of cognitive disorders may vary from day to day. They can include "spaciness," memory lapses, difficulty concentrating, word mix-ups when speaking or writing, and clumsiness.

Environmental Sensitivity:Sensitivities to light noise, odors, and weather are often present, as are allergic reactions to a variety of substances.

Disequilibrium: Difficulties in orientation may occur when standing, driving, or reading. Dizziness and balance problems may also be present.

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