Dr. Pellegrino says that post-traumatic Fibromyalgia “is a specific medical condition that exists regardless of individual physicians beliefs or opinions”. He says a PTF diagnosis is never assumed before the patient is seen or from just reviewing the patient’s history by itself.
In order for a physician to diagnose PTF, information from the overall clinical evaluation needs to be analyzed. This evaluation includes the patients history and physical exam, supplemented by any diagnostic testing and review of any previous medical records. The final diagnosis of PTF is made if the total clinical picture fits.
The following features must be present in order for post-traumatic Fibromyalgia to be diagnosed:
- The patient cannot have a pre-existing FM diagnosis or FM-related symptoms before the trauma.
- History of trauma that led up to the existing pain.
- Pain as a result of the trauma that has continued to exist since the trauma occurred.
- Widespread pain that has persisted for at least 6 months after the injury.
- The presence of characteristic painful tender points as defined by the American College of Rheumatology criteria; i.e., at least 11 of 18 positive tender points. If consistent reproducible tender points are present only in an injured region and not widespread, a subset of fibromyalgia post-traumatic regional fibromyalgia may be considered.
An experienced physiciancan diagnose a patient with PTF after just one evaluation. The tender points are themain findings on the evaluation/exam and muscle spasms and trigger points may be helpful to the physician to clarify the diagnosis. During the exam the physician will also be able to determine if any other conditions are present along with the PTF.
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