Diseases Mimicking Fibromyalgia

Diseases mimicking fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia can mimic many other diseases and is frequently misdiagnosed. The most common diseases that mimic fibromyalgia are-

  • Arthritis,
  • Myofascial pain syndrome (muscle knots),
  • Tension headache,
  • Lupus,
  • Multiple sclerosis,
  • Hypothyroidism, and
  • Depression.

Here we will discuss all these one by one-

Fibromyalgia Vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disorder that causes pain, swelling, and stiffness of the joints. The disease may also affect other parts of the body such as the skin, blood vessels, muscles, tendons, and organs. Fibromyalgia does not cause inflammation of joints but can mimic RA symptomatically. Rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women than men whereas fibromyalgia affects both sexes equally.

Fibromyalgia Vs. Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) relates to muscle tightness. This usually involves several muscle groups at once rather than just one area like fibromyalgia. MPS can be triggered by an injury to tissue or bone but it also worsens with continuous overuse. MPS does not affect the muscles like in fibromyalgia wherein there is pain and unusual tenderness to touch. Fibromyalgia sufferers may experience joint stiffness due to immobility secondary to muscle pain.

Fibromyalgia Vs. Tension Headache

Tension headache is the most common type of headache. This usually affects both sides of the head, around the neck, and shoulders. And causes mild-to-severe pain for hours or even days. It can be associated with stress, depression, or anxiety but it’s not related to sleep loss as seen in patients suffering from fibromyalgia. However, if someone suffering from tension headaches has chronic insomnia then he/she should be considered as a candidate for fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia Vs. Lupus

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease. This occurs when your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissue and organs including joints, skin, blood cells, brain, lungs, heart, and kidneys.

Fibromyalgia can mimic lupus symptoms. But it does not cause inflammation to the affected areas like lupus which causes pain and swelling of joints. The symptoms of both diseases are alike but there are certain differences too.

Differences in physical exams:

– Fibromyalgia doesn’t cause any evidence of inflammation while lupus does.

  • There is no “butterfly” rash on the face present in lupus patients.
  • Neck stiffness is more associated with lupus than fibromyalgia.
  • The hands and feet of a person suffering from fibromyalgia are usually colder than the normal body temperature. While this doesn’t happen in lupus patients.
  • Low white cell count is common with lupus but not found in fibro patients.

Fibromyalgia Vs. Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system in which your immune system destroys the protective sheath around the nerve fibers. This leads to scarring or hardening of tissue and results in communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body.

Fibromyalgia can’t cause demyelination, hardening, or scarring of tissue but it may mimic MS symptoms such as fatigue, pain, depression, etc.

Fibromyalgia Vs. Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a condition where your thyroid gland fails to make enough hormones needed for normal growth and function of cells which can cause a number of symptoms including weakness, weight gain, dry skin, and intolerance to cold temperatures. The symptoms are also similar to fibromyalgia except for the presence of fever which is not seen in this disease.

Fibromyalgia Vs. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME)

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) is a debilitating condition associated with extreme physical and mental fatigue that doesn’t go away with adequate rest, unlike fibromyalgia where the pain is the predominant feature. Fibromyalgia can also mimic CFS symptoms like impaired memory, sleep disorders, headache, etc.

Fibromyalgia Vs. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS causes cramping, abdominal discomfort, bloating, and diarrhea especially after meals and at night and it can be associated with constipation and urinary symptoms. IBS doesn’t cause pain like fibromyalgia but it might include tenderness around the abdominal area.

Fibromyalgia Vs. Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CPPS)

Chronic pelvic pain syndrome occurs due to an inflammation of one or more organs in the pelvis such as the uterus, ovaries, bladder, or prostate which may lead to sexual dysfunction, chronic fatigue, etc. The symptoms are alike in that both diseases have similar presentations of pain and tenderness in the muscles, joints, and tendons however there is no significant evidence for a direct link between CPPS and FM.

Checklist for Fibromyalgia patients:

-Does the pain move from one body part to another?

-The symptoms occur after a physical or emotional trauma, surgery, or infection or due to hormonal changes?

-The symptoms are worse at night and in the morning when you wake up?

-Physical exertion aggravates the symptoms?

-It takes a long time for recover from a flare/relapse of symptoms even with adequate rest and treatment?

-Are you affected by mold, cold temperature, odors, and chemicals in the air?

-Do you have problems with memory or concentration?

-Does your pain interfere with your relationships and professional life?

Sukhayu Ayurved: A Place for Complete cure of Fibromyalgia

At Sukhayu Ayurved Hospital, we are providing the complete cure for fibromyalgia with Ayurvedic treatment.

Since you’re not a doctor nor do you have access to a doctor who knows you and your medical history, this list might be helpful if you’re confused about whether you’re suffering from CFS/ME or fibromyalgia.

You should consult an Ayurveda physician for the right diagnosis.


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About Sukhayu

In name of Ayurveda centers and hospitals, resorts are common. And this dragged Ayurveda to a category of relaxation and spa only. This is the reason, Ayurveda pendulum between spa and hotels. Hospitals are not common in Ayurveda.

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