Achilles tendon pressuring and inquiry about “persistent deep aching pain over most of [the] body” may effectively screen for fibromyalgia in patients with chronic pain, according to findings published in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice.

This study included participants from 2 primary care centers who were scheduled for routine clinical assessment (n=352). The cohort included patients with a fibromyalgia diagnosis (n=52), patients with chronic pain but no fibromyalgia diagnosis (n=108), and patients with no chronic pain or fibromyalgia (n=192).

The investigators found that study participants with fibromyalgia vs patients with chronic pain but no fibromyalgia reported greater levels of “persistent deep ache over most of their body” (7.4±2.9 vs 3.2±3.4; P <.0001) and greater bilateral digital-evoked tenderness (6.1±3.1 vs 2.4±2.4; P <.0001), both evaluated on a 0 to 10 scale.

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Because only 6 men with a fibromyalgia diagnosis were included in this cohort, the investigators note that sex-based analyses were not feasible. In addition, the small number of patients may limit the overall findings and prevent the generalizability of the results to all patients with chronic pain and fibromyalgia.

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The use of the 2 screening tools for fibromyalgia in patients with chronic pain may ultimately help patients “be spared a lengthy cycling through the medical system before receiving a diagnosis of [fibromyalgia] and beginning treatment.”

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Jones KD, Aebischer JH, St John AW, Friend R, Bennett RM. A simple screening test to recognize fibromyalgia in primary care patients with chronic pain [published online October 23, 2017]. J Eval Clin Pract. doi: 10.1111/jep.12836