DO I HAVE FYBROMYALGIA?
Fybromyalgia (FMS) is a most debilitating disorder that is characterized by wide-spread pain, fatigue, anxiety, and other symptoms. However, there are many other conditions and diseases that present themselves much like fybromyalgia. These conditions must be ruled out first before a diagnosis if fybromyalgia is made. Here are some of these similar conditions.
Boy that is a mouthful! Try saying that three times quickly. This condition is sometimes called painful bladder syndrome. This inflammation of the bladder wall is likely to feel like a urinary tract infection. The problem occurs with the symptoms of this bladder condition. Like fybromyalgia, both seem to originate in the nerves and produce chronic pain. The two conditions also often occur together and are both more common in women.
Fibromyalgia is probably most likely to be confused for this inflammatory disorder. Its characteristic pain and stiffness in the hips, neck, and shoulders are all common in fibromyalgia patients too. Polymyalgia rheumatica is most common in people older than 50 and can also cause morning stiffness and headaches, other common symptoms in people with fibromyalgia.
RESTLESS LEGS SYNDROME
The cause of restless legs syndrome (RLS) remains mostly a mystery. It is characterized by uncomfortable pins-and-needles sensations in the legs and the irresistible urge to move the legs. Moving the legs seems to temporarily alleviate the intense feelings. However, people with RLS tend to get poor sleep in general and to experience severe fatigue like that felt by many people with fibromyalgia.
Unlike the more common osteoarthritis, which is caused by age-related wear and tear, rheumatoid arthritis can occur at any age and is caused by inflammation and destruction of the lining of the joints. The painful, swollen, and stiff joints characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis are also common complaints for people with fibromyalgia. In addition, RA can strike in the same joints on both sides of the body, similar to the symmetrical tender points used to diagnose fibromyalgia, and can cause fatigue and morning stiffness.
Many fibromyalgia patients have trouble sleeping. The unfortunate thing about this is that sleeping better could actually improve their symptoms. Sometimes, the pain from fybromyalgia itself could be interfering with sleep. However, there is another condition that can cause sleep problems and tiredness upon waking. Sleep apnea may be the problem keeping you up at night. A person with sleep apnea tends to snore and stop breathing for several seconds or more while asleep, then snorts and gasps for breath. The results are fitful sleep and feeling tired upon waking. Treating the sleep disorder should lead to better sleep, even if FMS symptoms persist.
There are a lot of conditions that mimic fybromyalgia. Your doctor will rule these out one by one as most of them can be confirmed in the lab. Of course, this takes time and patience. However, once you are diagnosed properly, you can begin your journey back to recovery or the new normal as they say.