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2. Has the claimant's physician(s) systematically attempted to eliminate other diseases before making the diagnosis of FM?

A frequently heard comment made by non-FM specialists, SSA case workers and even federal courts is that "FM is a diagnosis made by exclusion of other diseases." Of course, the implication is that doctors really don't know how to diagnose FM and that somehow invalidates the fact the disease exists. Such a belief shows unfamiliarity with the ACR 1990 [now ACR 2010—Ed.] criteria for diagnosis.

However, it reinforces why a specialist should make the diagnosis after a physical exam (finding and documenting tender points) and blood work excludes other rheumatic diseases which may share symptoms with or mimic FM/CFIDS. That process provides validity to the diagnosis.