Keeping a Symptoms Diary

Have you been wondering if you have fibromyalgia? Do you hurt all over all the time? Having difficulty sleeping? Do you have other symptoms commonly associated with fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia can be a confusing condition. Even doctors sometimes have a hard time diagnosing the condition. This is because fibromyalgia shares so many similarities with other conditions, some of them very serious. This is why you need to push for testing if you feel that you have fibromyalgia. Some people wait years before receiving a diagnosis, seeing several doctors and becoming more and more frustrated. Keeping a diary of symptoms may help as you go through the diagnosis process.

Keeping a diary of your symptoms may be as simple as writing down your symptoms, when they occur and any activities associated with symptoms, such as eating or exercising. No need for formality- a simple notebook will do. You may try using a rating system to rate your pain and fatigue (i.e. a scale from 1 to 10). Also make careful note of where the pain is located, how long it lasts and the quality of the pain. Quality of pain refers to its nature. In other words, is the pain dull, sharp, aching, or burning? Does the pain radiate (travel) to other areas? Are there other symptoms associated with the pain (nausea and vomiting, sweating, dizziness)?

Carefully note diet and exercise details, as well as medications you use and when they are taken. If you use analgesics, note the intensity of your pain before and after you take pain medication. This will help your physician gauge how well any pain relief measures you use are working. Don’t forget non-pharmacological remedies, such as the use of heat or cold applications, massage or other remedies used.

Keeping a diary of your symptoms may give your doctor insight as to how symptoms affect your life, how often symptoms occur, associated symptoms and the effect of any measures used to relieve symptoms. Based on all of this information, your doctor will be better able to proceed in determining the cause of your pain, getting you closer to a diagnosis of fibromyalgia or ruling out the condition in favor of another diagnosis. A symptoms diary can be invaluable in helping you get to the bottom of what ails you.


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Fibromyalgia is a prevalent condition that affects many people in the United States. Approximately 3.7 million Americans have Fibromyalgia. That is 1 in every 73 people.

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