Fibromyalgia - diagnostic criteria

Back in 1990, American College of Rheumatology devised a diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia(1).

i) widespread pain in combination with

ii) tenderness at 11 or more of the 18 specific tender point site

This was REVISED by the same group in 2010(2), and it still is the current recommended diagnostic criteria:

(and it unfortunately is slightly more tricky. Note "tender points" is no longer a valid criteria).


A patient satisfies diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia if the following 3 conditions are met:

1) Widespread Pain Index (WPI) ≥ 7 and Symptom Severity (SS) scale score ≥ 5 or WPI 3–6 and SS scale score ≥ 9.

2) Symptoms have been present at a similar level for at least 3 months.

3) The patient does not have a disorder that would otherwise explain the pain.


Please download the full diagnostic criteria, including the description of WPI and SS scales, by clicking here.


1. Wolfe F, A. SH, Yunus MB, Bennett RM, Bombardier C, Goldenberg DL, et al. The American Colledge of Rheumatology 1990 Criteria for the Classication of Fibrmyalgia. Arthritis and Rheumatism. 1990;33(2):160-72.

2. Wolfe F, Clauw DJ, Fitzcharles MA, Goldenberg DL, Katz RS, Mease P, et al. The American College of Rheumatology preliminary diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia and measurement of symptom severity. Arthritis Care and Research. 2010;62(5):600-10.

For further information on how 2will provides physiotherapy pain management for patients with fibromyalgia, please click here.

Managing chronic pain - Sean

Managing chronic pain is a bit like scaling a mountain. Except you have no idea how high the mountain is.

Discouragement is a part of the journey, thus handling such emotion is one of the keys to managing pain. A competent and passionate health professional should be able to be your guide through these peaks and troughs.

Sean* tells us his journey and perspective. I think he has some great points that anyone going through chronic pain can relate to.

(*not his real name)