Fibromyalgia Framework Series: Diagnosis, Misdiagnosis and Fibromyalgia Books

Welcome to the second part of the fibromyalgia framework series – Diagnosis, misdiagnosis and awesome fibromyalgia books you should check out.

The fibromyalgia framework series is going to present my (evolving) view of managing fibromyalgia. In 2018 some of my strongly held theories were proven true by experience and research. I’ll share this with you.

Did you see the first part and download your free Fibromyalgia Framework Puzzle and Grid template?

In this one we ensure we are on the same page with what we are talking about and discuss the key manuals for guiding treatment.

Fibromyalgia Framework Part Two Video

Fibromyalgia Diagnosis, Misdiagnosis and Fibro Books


For a succinct introduction to the definition, symptoms, diagnosis and treatments for fibromyalgia see this post here.

Essentially, fibromyalgia is a chronic pain-based illness of unknown origin and cure. It effects approximately 3-6% of the world’s population. It is said to effect far more women than men, but there are definitely men who suffer with it too. It appears in-discriminatory in race, education level and socioeconomic demographics. As I said in the first part of this series, it is complex in that it is triggered, manifests and is helped by very different things for different people. Diagnosis and misdiagnosis is also a problem.


There are not many fibromyalgia fighters who have a short diagnosis story. A study of 800 patients found it took an average of 2.3 years and seeing 3.7 doctors prior to receiving a diagnosis[1]. It took me several years as the symptoms came on slowly and I was young; the doctors were disinclined to believe me, especially as my symptoms and their severity changed.

It is a tricky diagnosis: Fibromyalgia is often referred to as a “wastebasket” diagnosis. Doctors do have to rule out other illnesses before they can diagnose it. There is no specific test for Fibromyalgia that is widely used yet. The symptoms are very generalised: widespread pain on both sides of the body (subjective) for at least three months, fatigue, difficulty sleeping and difficulty concentrating. The tender point count used to be one of the defining features of diagnosis; however, tender points were found to be unreliable – you needed 11 of 18 to be diagnosed, and some days, you could have at least that many; others, you may have less. Often, you also have to find a doctor who wants to help you and believes in fibromyalgia. I do so hope this is becoming a thing of the past, but it certainly was an issue for me.

Diagnosis may not change much for you; I was already on Amitriptyline, so the doctor basically gave me the confirmation and sent me on my way. But when I was ready, and when the world had caught up with some information, this word led my search. It is also important to note that not everything you experience will be the fibromyalgia. For years my severe neck pain was considered part of the fibromyalgia and therefore not looked into further. However, the fact that the physiotherapist could feel a reason for the pain (trigger points) and treat it (temporarily) in a manner that didn’t work for any of the rest of my pain made me curious. It wasn’t until 2017 that I met a physiotherapist who told me about trigger points and myofascial pain syndrome that it all clicked into place. Researching this avenue has brought me much more success than just thinking it was the fibromyalgia.

During pregnancy, I experienced severe back and pelvis pain that was also dismissed as part of my experience of fibromyalgia and pregnancy. It turned out it was pelvic girdle pain and is treatable. Without proper diagnosis and treatment, rather than have the pain disperse once I gave birth, it continued for several months after. I experienced a lot of unnecessary pain. So please don’t let your doctor throw every single thing you experience into the fibromyalgia wastebasket.


One issue with fibromyalgia, besides the difficulty in obtaining a diagnosis and help, is misdiagnosis. One research paper puts it this way, “There is a disturbing inaccuracy, mostly observed to be over diagnosis, in the diagnosis of FM by referring physicians. This finding may help explain the current high reported rates of FM and caution physicians to consider other diagnostic possibilities when addressing diffuse musculoskeletal pain.”

One doctor who writes about fibromyalgia, David Brady, posits that as many as two thirds of patients may be misdiagnosed. Interestingly one of the things that he finds often misdiagnosed as “classic fibromyalgia” is myofascial pain syndrome. Whereas in my case, there is the presence of both – which adds another layer of complexity to these illnesses. Other issues mis-attributed to fibromyalgia include thyroid problems and nutritional deficiencies as well as other illnesses.

For an interview with him about misdiagnosis see this blog post from Fed up with Fatigue. I also mention his book, The Fibro Fix in my post on my five favourite books for fighting fibromyalgia below.


Affiliate notice: Some of these links are affiliate links and I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you if you use them.

I highly recommend reading From Fatigued to Fantastic (2020) by Dr Jacob Teitelbaum and The FibroManual: A Complete Treatment Guide to Fibromyalgia for You and Your Doctor (2016) by Dr Ginevra Liptan. These two authors are doctors who have fibromyalgia themselves. Their processes are useful and a very good place to start. I re-read these books periodically for a reminder or when I am exploring a new area. They provide the very foundations with which to fight this illness.

See my blog post of My Favourite Five Books for Fighting Fibromyalgia for more information about these books.

[1] Ernest Choy et al, 2010

Impatient? Want to work through the content now? The Fibromyalgia Framework Workbook is available to purchase, with all of the templates (freebies and templates recommended from my Etsy Store) with space for notes to work through the content as a course. Find the Fibromyalgia Framework here (digital). Find it physically here.

Fibromyalgia 101: Definition, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

This post is Fibromyalgia 101: I share what Fibromyalgia is, the definition, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options and more.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain-based illness of unknown origin and cure. It effects approximately 3-6% of the world’s population. It is said to effect far more women than men, but there are definitely men who suffer with it too. It appears in-discriminatory in race, education level and socioeconomic demographics.

I have struggled with this illness for most of my life. I have also put a lot of work into my wellness journey. In 2017 I was the most well I had been since I was 17 years old. In 2020 I am the most well I can ever remember being. This does not mean that I am not affected 24/7 – I just have it as well managed as I possibly can.

For the concise, all in one place story of my journey and all that I do see my book Melissa vs Fibromyalgia: My Journey Fighting Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Insomnia. Please note that this is an affiliate link, if you make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

fibromyalgia definition symptoms diagnosis and treatment options

For a brief run down of what Fibromyalgia is, the symptoms and some treatments see below.

Fibromyalgia 101 What is It?

On the University of Maryland Medical Center website, Fibromyalgia is explained in this way: “Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by pain in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons; fatigue; and multiple tender points on the body.”

And on the same page, they list the signs and symptoms of Fibromyalgia:

  • Widespread pain and stiffness
  • Fatigue [and]/or trouble
  • Paresthesia (tingling)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Skin sensitivity
  • Heightened sensitivity to noises, bright lights, smells
  • Depression
  • Pain after exertion
  • Memory lapses/difficulty
  • Restless leg syndrome (RLS)
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Hemorrhoids
fibromyalgia definition symptoms diagnosis and treatment options

However, the trouble is that Fibromyalgia seems to be very unique to each person: how it comes on, what symptoms are present, what helps said symptoms.

There is also a debate as to whether trigger points are present in Fibromyalgia or part of a separate issue called Myofascial Pain Syndrome. A lot of the above symptoms overlap with a lot of different conditions.

Some Associated Physiological Abnormalities

Research has found alterations in neurotransmitter regulation, immune system function, sleep physiology and hormone level control. A lot of research suggests that Fibromyalgia is the result of central nervous system dysfunction – specifically an overactive nervous system, stressing and exhausting the brain (Dennis W. Dobritt, Fibromyalgia – A Brief Overview).

Getting Diagnosed with Fibromyalgia

This great article from Fibro Daze explains why it takes so long to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia, the process and the Widespread Pain Index and Symptom Severity Scale.

fibromyalgia definition symptoms diagnosis and treatment options

Long story short, it takes a long time to be diagnosed – years on average and multiple doctors – because it is a tricky illness with no widely accepted test and because a multitude of other illnesses must be ruled out. This is particularly difficult because Fibromyalgia tends to co-exist with a multitude of other conditions. It is a disease of mimicking and misdiagnosis.

Fibromyalgia 101: Treating It

We have been told it is incurable, but that is only because they don’t know what causes it. But some smart people are working on it and I believe we will see progress soon.

There are a multitude of treatment options on offer. Some of them help a little, some help a lot, some help one person a lot and another person a little – therein lies the difficulty.

I have been sharing my journey for the past several years because I want to help you cut down the time it takes you to find what helps you. I have carefully researched, trialed and written about all of the treatment options I have tried.

fibromyalgia definition symptoms diagnosis and treatment options

There are few certainties in treating Fibromyalgia but here are some from a seasoned Fibromyalgia fighter:

  • Treatment will require multiple options (natural and medicinal)
  • One option can help me incredibly and you not at all and vice versa
  • Sleep is king. Tackle sleep first. With medication if you must. This is a widely agreed finding from key doctors who treat Fibromyalgia including Dr Liptan, Dr Teitelbaum and Dr Vallings.
  • You can impact your quality of life.
  • Coaching can help you on your journey.

Treating Fibromyalgia 101: The Manuals

I wrote about My Top Five Books for Fighting Fibromyalgia in this post. Start with Dr Teitelbaum and Dr Liptan – both of these doctors have Fibromyalgia themselves and treat people with Fibromyalgia.

What Works for Me

What works for me now 2019

My Top Three Treatments to Fight Fibromyalgia
What Works for me: 9 Things to Fight Fibromyalgia
My Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) for Fibromyalgia One Year Experiment

Treating Fibromyalgia Through the Central Nervous System

Low Dose Naltrexone

The Central Nervous System, Restorative Yoga and Fibromyalgia

Micro Yoga for Fibromyalgia
Giant Meditation Post
Yoga for Fibromyalgia with Handy Links

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia

Check out “pregnancy” and “parenting” in the categories box (below or beside this post) for articles to help you have the best pregnant possible despite Fibromyalgia.

All My Articles on Fibromyalgia

Look at “fibromyalgia” in the category box for all of the articles that I have created to help you fight Fibromyalgia. There are over 250 of them.

My Journey: 2020

As of 2020 I am enjoying my best quality of life that I can ever remember. Thanks to low dose naltrexone, yoga, meditation and all the things I have enacted to be more well. I am so thankful every day.

I am hopeful and I am excited as to what the future brings.

My hope for you is that you keep fighting for yourself. Don’t wait for a doctor to do it for you. But do work with your doctor, find another if they won’t.

For more information

Try my FREE micro course You vs Fibromyalgia: Arm Yourself with Knowledge: it is a six section micro course designed to get you started in your journey.