Diagnostic Tests Performed
It can take as much as five years from the onset of symptoms to a diagnosis of FM. Because the symptoms vary so drastically from patient to patient and even day to day, it can compound the difficulty of an already complex diagnostic process. To start off, the patient's primary care physician may want to send them to a pain specialist in order to eliminate other pain related disorders. They may also be sent to an endocrinologist, a gastroenterologist and a rheumatologist. The list of specialists that a patient may visit can be quite long before a diagnosis is made.
The main obstacle to the ARC guideline is that symptoms of FM can come and go, so a patient may not have persistent pain for three consecutive months in all areas, but may have that pain for another six months following the lull, and may be reactive to six tender points today and fourteen tomorrow.