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    Would an MRI show fibromyalgia?
    1975transplant posted:
    My friend has many symptoms that seem fibromyalgia-like to me. I advised her to ask to be tested. Her neurologist told her that she did not have fibromyalgia because if she did it would have shown up on the CAT scan or MRI. Is that true? Would one of those scans show fibromyalgia? The doctor told her it is just stress.
    xperky responded:
    I have heard of new testing for FM with MRI's of the brain, but I'm not sure if it is becoming a standard test yet. Last I heard, there was more research to do in that area.

    If you can get more specifics about what the doctor was looking for, that would be very interesting to us FMers!

    It would feel somehow better if there were some concrete test for FM. It does seem like nothing in life is black or white though, always somewhere in the gray area.
    With Compassion,
    georgia888 replied to xperky's response:
    Hello Margaret,
    Four years ago when I went through the gamut of visiting various doctors in search of a diagnosis, a neurologist did order a brain MRI under the suspician of MS. Fortunately, it showed negative for MS but it did reflect more gray (or was it white?) matter. I never did discuss this with the doctor so I don't know if it is due to normal aging (I was 52 at the time) or indeed symptomatic of Fibro.

    Your insight is always appreciated.

    Old1now replied to xperky's response:
    I saw one place where they did functional MRI to show pain response. I can't cite the source but I think it was a study of chronic pain not FM specifically.
    Mark Pellegrino, MD responded:
    Hello 1975transplant,

    A typical CAT scan or MRI of the brain (or elsewhere) will not show fibromyalgia. These tests are often ordered to look for other possible causes of one's symptoms. For example, a brain MRI may be ordered to look for demyelinating lesions seen in multiple sclerosis. Many types of abnormalites can be seen with these tests, but not from fibromyalgia.

    If a CAT scan or MRI are normal, that does not rule out fibromyalgia. Although fibro does not cause specific abnormalities in the typical CAT or MRI studies, there was a study done 10 years ago that reported fibro-specific abnormalites on a special type of MRI called a functional MRI.

    Here's a link to this study's summary.

    Functional MRI's are only available in specialized research centers so they are not being routinely performed on patients with suspected fibromyalgia. The best way to diagnose fibromyalgia is to listen to the patient's specific complaints of widespread pain and associated symptoms, and finding typical painful tender points on the exam. Other testing may be helpful to evaluate other conditions that may mimic fibro or co-exist with it.

    I hope this info helps!

    Dr. P
    1975transplant replied to Mark Pellegrino, MD's response:
    Dr. Pellegrino:
    Thanks so much for your excellent explanation of the inability of a CAT scan or MRI to show fibromyalgia. I will share the information with my friend. She went 300 miles to see the "specialist" of Neurology that told her that she could not have fibromyalgia. She has been told that there are no more tests to give her and they are baffled by her case. We live in a rural area so there are no specialists near at hand. I will recommend to her that she travel the 65 miles to see the nearest doctor of Rheumatology for a diagnosis. I hope she can at least have the relief of knowing what she is dealing with.
    Thanks so much for your help!
    rhianablue replied to Mark Pellegrino, MD's response:
    I believe a new study was done using that type of MRI-The results are really making waves.

    There are several new studies,but thats just a link to one of them.not to call your knowledge into question,I have fibro and since my doctors dont believe in it,I research for any way to give them proof they will believe. I thought when rheumotologist made my fibro a firm diagnosis-my GP and my new pain mgmt doctor said it was 'merely a catchall name, used when all else is ruled out but patient still complains of symptoms'.So,I look for new info weekly.
    dollbug replied to rhianablue's response:
    Hello rhianablue and welcome...MiMi in NC..I do not think I have *talked* to you. I did read your post though and I also reviewed the link that you provided. I also wanted you to know that Dr. P is no longer on this FM support group...we, FMers, sure do miss he was a *great asset to our community here*.

    The link you provided was a study which was done a long time ago...(the article was from 2002) I do not know IF any other studies were done as a *follow up* on the findings or not. Now with that being said, I would also like to add that Dr. P, no doubt would have known about any recent discoveries in the FM world...since he not only treats it but he also lives with it every day as well.

    I would also like to mention this...that IF my doctor did not believe that FM is real, then I would be looking around to find me a doctor who actually *believes in it and knows how to treat it as well*...It might have been a *catchall name or sorts* at one time and another, but I think there has been so much research done on it that most good doctors now know that it is indeed a real illness. Modern technology has come a long way in how things are now researched.

    I would also suggest that perhaps you need to ask your doctor to check your Vitamin D level, if you have not already done this. Low Vitamin D can cause some people to have additional pain and it can also affect other illnesses as well.

    I do think it is good when we, FMers, decide to do our own research on the wrath of the dragon, aka we can sometimes find *something* that just might make a BIG DIFFERENCE in our level of pain. What works for one may or may not work for another, but we never know until we try.

    Take care and good luck.


    An_267648 responded:
    Yes,,, and No.
    See - NFRA - National Fibromyalgia Research Association

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