ProHealth health Vitamin and Natural Supplement Store and Health
Home  |  Log In  |  My Account  |  View Cart  View Your ProHealth Vitamin and Supplement Shopping Cart
800-366-6056  |  Contact Us  |  Help
Facebook Google Plus
Fibromyalgia  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & M.E.  Lyme Disease  Natural Wellness  Supplement News  Forums  Our Story
Store     Brands   |   A-Z Index   |   Best Sellers   |   New Products   |   Deals & Specials   |   Under $10   |   SmartSavings Club

Trending News

The Health Benefits of Manuka Honey

Increase Your Magnesium Intake

Vitamin D supplementation could ease IBS symptoms

Top Tips to Boost Your Immunity

11 Amazing Health Benefits of Using Baking Soda

Nicotinamide riboside shows promise for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease

Exercise, calcium, vitamin D, and other factors linked with fewer injurious falls

Vitamin D3 Is a Powerhouse for Your Heart

Curcumin Supplementation May Impart Long-Term Cognitive Benefits

Rhodiola — A Powerful Adaptogen That Boosts Vitality and Performance, Eases Depression and Combats B...

Print Page
Email Article

Are There Objective Tests for Fibromyalgia?

  [ 6 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
By Celeste Cooper • • May 14, 2016

Are There Objective Tests for Fibromyalgia?
By Celeste Cooper

Presently, the American College of Rheumatology states there is no biological test for diagnosing fibromyalgia. But, is that true?
The FM/a blood test, a bloodspot-based diagnostic test, and a loss of heart rate variability have been considered as potential biological markers, but the American College of Rheumatology says there is no test. So this article is about what tests are available to support a diagnosis of fibromyalgia (FM). 

What’s the difference between subjective and objective?

Subjective is a statement that has been colored by the character of the speaker or writer. It often has a basis in reality, but reflects the perspective through with the speaker views reality. It cannot be verified using concrete facts and figures.

Objective is a statement that is completely unbiased. It is not touched by the speaker’s previous experiences or tastes. It is verifiable by looking up facts or performing mathematical calculations.

Subjective Tests

The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) now suggests there are four elements for assessing fibromyalgia: 
  • Pain and symptoms over the past week, based on the total of number of painful areas out of 19 parts of the body
Plus level of severity of these symptoms:
  • Fatigue
  • Waking unrefreshed
  • Cognitive (memory or thought) problems 
Plus number of other general physical symptoms
Subjective evidence such as this relies solely on input from the subject (patient). 
What Are Objective Tests?
Objective tests are done to rule out other disorders, such as blood tests, radiographic tests, etc., but ruling out other disorders that can mimic fibromyalgia does not mean fibromyalgia is a diagnosis of last resort. Fibromyalgia can, and often does, occur with other disorders, and according to the ACR, we are at higher risk if we have another rheumatic disorder. There is objective evidence to explain the body-wide pain often associated with muscle fatigue and spasm, fatigue, non-restorative sleep, and cognitive dysfunction. This is important because most researchers agree these four elements are important in diagnosing fibromyalgia.
Objective Tests that Support a Diagnosis of Fibromyalgia by Each Element

Body-wide pain, muscle fatigue, and spasm
  • A physical exam to check for knotted up pieces of muscle fiber (called trigger points) that can be felt by the examiner or by using ultrasound and thermal patterns. This is important because there is a difference between fibromyalgia tender points and myofascial trigger points, yet the presence of trigger points do not rule out fibromyalgia. Some experts believe myofascial pain syndrome is a peripheral pain generator in fibromyalgia.
  • A Surface Electro-Myography (SEMG) provides objective evidence for wide-ranging muscle spasm and peripheral spastic soft tissues found in fibromyalgia that lead to body-wide pain. Electrodes are placed on the skin to measure electrical activity of muscles, and like an EMG, the test shows amplified activity that is analyzed by a computer.
Non-restorative sleep

A sleep study using an EEG where electrodes are placed on the scalp looks for diminished delta waves, which leads to non-restorative, non-refreshing, sleep. It is during these slow wave stages of sleep that micro healing occurs, and abnormal sleep patterns affect fibromyalgia.


Loss of or abnormally low heart rate variability (HRV) is known to contribute to fatigue. And using EKG tracings of the heart during sleep (along with non-restorative sleep) can be an objective measure for fatigue associated with FM. Several studies show FM is associated with a loss of heart rate variability, meaning there is little to no variation between beats. This does not mean you can feel the variances with your pulse, however. It takes an EKG tracing that shows variance in milliseconds. According to a leading fibromyalgia researcher, Dr. Roland Staud, heart rate variability analysis of FM patients can be used to assess autonomic nervous system dysfunction and could be a potential biomarker.

Cognitive problems

A neurocognitive exam looks at particular parts of brain function with specific relation to cognitive deficits. This exam is performed by an advanced trained psychologist who does many tests throughout a day to look for memory, attention, problem solving, motor processing speed, language, emotion, and visual perception of where objects are in relationship to our space.
Having objective tests to diagnose any illness is important. These objective tests are important for validating symptoms, so that not only the appropriate treatments are identified, but also to confirm that the symptoms are not all in our heads. It is also important for you to know that the FM/a blood test, according to Dr. Bruce Gillis at EpicGenetics, is now covered by most insurance and Medicare.
So, if you feel you have problems in any of these areas, be sure to discuss them with your physician.
A bloodspot-based diagnostic test for fibromyalgia
Loss of heart rate variability
American College of Rheumatology Criteria
Ultrasound and thermal patterns for identifying trigger points.
Effects of treatment of peripheral pain generators in fibromyalgia patients.
Heart rate variability in patients with fibromyalgia and patients with chronic fatigue syndrome: a systematic review.
Heart rate variability as a biomarker of fibromyalgia syndrome.

Celeste Cooper, RN, is a frequent contributor to ProHealth.  She is an advocate, writer and published author, and a person living with chronic pain. Celeste is lead author of Integrative Therapies for Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Myofascial Pain and Broken Body, Wounded Spirit, and Balancing the See Saw of Chronic Pain (a four book series). She spends her time enjoying her family and the rewards she receives from interacting with nature through her writing and photography. You can learn more about Celeste’s writing, advocacy work, helpful tips, and social network connections at

Post a Comment

Featured Products From the ProHealth Store
Vitamin D3 Extreme™ FibroSleep™ Ultra ATP+, Double Strength

Article Comments

Be the first to comment on this article!

Post a Comment

Optimized Curcumin Longvida with Omega-3

Featured Products

Energy NADH™ 12.5mg Energy NADH™ 12.5mg
Improve Energy & Cognitive Function
Mitochondria Ignite™ with NT Factor® Mitochondria Ignite™ with NT Factor®
Reduce Fatigue up to 45%
Ultra EPA  - Fish Oil Ultra EPA - Fish Oil
Ultra concentrated source of essential fish oils
Ultra ATP+, Double Strength Ultra ATP+, Double Strength
Get Energized with Malic Acid & Magnesium
FibroSleep™ FibroSleep™
The All-in-One Natural Sleep Aid

Natural Remedies

D-ficient? Health Risks You Need to Know About D-ficient? Health Risks You Need to Know About
Pioneer Scientists Uncover a Revolutionary Neuroprotective Supplement for Nerve Health Pioneer Scientists Uncover a Revolutionary Neuroprotective Supplement for Nerve Health
Block Acid Reflux to Prevent Esophageal Problems! Block Acid Reflux to Prevent Esophageal Problems!
Mitochondria-Booster NIAGEN® Shows Promise in First Human Clinical Trial Mitochondria-Booster NIAGEN® Shows Promise in First Human Clinical Trial
Why Berries Offer a Rainbow of Health Benefits Why Berries Offer a Rainbow of Health Benefits

ProHealth, Inc.
555 Maple Ave
Carpinteria, CA 93013
(800) 366-6056  |  Email

· Become a Wholesaler
· Vendor Inquiries
· Affiliate Program
Credit Card Processing
Get the latest news about Fibromyalgia, M.E/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lyme Disease and Natural Wellness

CONNECT WITH US ProHealth on Facebook  ProHealth on Twitter  ProHealth on Pinterest  ProHealth on Google Plus

© 2018 ProHealth, Inc. All rights reserved. Pain Tracker App  |  Store  |  Customer Service  |  Guarantee  |  Privacy  |  Contact Us  |  Library  |  RSS  |  Site Map