Arthritis and Fibromyalgia: is there a link?

Arthritis and FibromyalgiaRheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia both cause inflammation and pain, as well as other symptoms that superficially appear similar in people who suffer from these conditions. Indeed, it can be difficult for both the patient and the caregiver to distinguish between arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is a medical condition of unknown cause that seems to occur mainly in women between the ages of 20 and 50. Patients experience pain over their entire body, along with diffuse tenderness in their joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. This condition has been linked to fatigue, sleep problems, headaches, depression, anxiety, and other symptoms.

Locations where fibromyalgia pain occurs are called tender points, from where patients experience mild to severe radiating pain into the body. Physical or emotional trauma, an abnormal pain response, sleep disturbances and even an unknown infectious agent are believed to be possible triggers.

In arthritis, the protective cartilage that protects bones and joints wears out, leading to local pain and inflammation. Movement and flexibility in the neck and back may be affected, along with a feeling of weakness or numbness in legs or arms. Other symptoms include intermittent back pain, a stiff back in the morning and after activity that gets better after rest, neck pain and tenderness, lower back pain that runs down into the lower extremities, and difficulty bending, walking, or stretching.

Although fibromyalgia  and arthritis are sometimes believed to be related to each other, fibromyalgia is not really a disease of the joints. It does not cause inflammation or damage to the joints, muscles, or other tissues, although patients may complain that their joints feel swollen. Widespread pain associated with tender points is also consistent with fibromyalgia and not rheumatoid arthritis.

However, fibromyalgia, like arthritis, is considered to be a rheumatic condition that interferes with joint function and/or soft tissues and causes chronic pain.

Treatment with massage and acupuncture under the supervision of a physician or certified physiotherapist are both effective ways to treat fibromyalgia and arthritis. Both methods significantly reduce fatigue and anxiety and ease pain in these conditions.

Fibromyalgia is usually treated with alternative approaches such as dietary supplements, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic care and biofeedback.

For arthritis, treatment is usually directed towards improving joint function and flexibility. Light aerobic activity is used to maintain fitness, and strengthening exercises are used to make muscles that support joints stronger. Also, range-of-motion exercises are used to increase joint flexibility and make them more supple.

In conclusion, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia may cause similar symptoms in their patients, but they are believed to be of different origin. To learn more about both conditions please read: Fibromyalgia and Arthritis of the spine.

Filed Under: Arthritis
Written By: Updated:

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7 thoughts on “Arthritis and Fibromyalgia: is there a link?”

  1. Stevie Kemp says:

    Acupuncture (needling for a min. of 30 minutes per session combines with soft (trigger-point)

  2. Ralph J. DeSando says:

    This sounds very good.

  3. gwen Eckhoff says:

    My husband has rheumatoid artritis and he doesn’t do anything active to keep his artritis ffrom being unable to be active and it is driving me crazy

  4. Paul Stimage says:

    I am interested.

  5. Anita A Rivers says:

    The age 15 years old. I was put down on my back I had crippling arthritis I hruts all over from feets to shoulder. Every joints I am glad they don’t hurt all at once. I stay active moving as much as I can walking gym are very good eat fruits raw veggie are helpful. RA makes you thinks crazy not in your right mind. As long as I have faith a true believer. I put my trust in Jesus l pray we who have this mess we must pray. And we got babies got this mess. We wont let the DEVIL WINN he will. LOSS.

  6. Rene Reeser says:

    It saddens me to read at only 15 years old you are living with such pain. My prayer was sent your way , I admire your faith and strength in your ability to share your beliefs. Old women of 54 has been given strength by your testimony. Thank you and Bless Bless Bless Bless over you always

  7. Yvette Williams says:

    My prayers are with you baby ..I was in my 40’s when I was diagnosed with it now I am 53 it’s something to deal keep your FAITH In GOD. IN THE NAME OF JESUS AMEN…

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