Fibromyalgia and MS – Understanding the Difference

Both autoimmune diseases, Fibromyalgia and MS are consistently crossing paths with each other. Autoimmune diseases often come in twos and threes so those that are diagnosed with one will often have another. Many times these two diseases are confused with each other, or sometimes fibromyalgia will precede a multiple sclerosis diagnosis by a few years. They share many similar symptoms however there are clear difference between these two diseases.

Fibromyalgia and MS share much of the same symptoms such as pain, numbness, tingling, muscle stiffness, and loss of muscle function. Both conditions can be debilitating in their own way, and both share the tendency for sleep difficulties and fatigue. This can make it difficult sometimes to make a diagnosis, and for doctors that do not always do their homework often a misdiagnosis can occur for either one.

 Diagnosis of Fibromyalgia to date does not include any visual tests such as MRIs or blood tests, but is based on patient history, symptoms and the tender points test. This test identifies 18 tender points that are highly sensitive and painful when pressure is applied.

This is one of the places where fibromyalgia and MS differ; MS is a degenerative disease that is usually visibly detectable in MRIs and other tests. Multiple sclerosis causes damage to the myelin sheath around the spinal cord and this eventually causes nerve damage. This disease is usually progressive leaving some people unable to walk and the damage is permanent.

For those with fibromyalgia there is no collateral damage of this type, and while the symptoms are very real and painful, it is not degenerative in anyway. The real damage of fibromyalgia comes from the debilitating pain that can lead to a lack of activity, which along with depression can often lead to a slow progression of other disease processes that have recently been linked to fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia and MS often run in the same families, which is another reason they can be misdiagnosed. If you think you may have one disease or another be sure to see your doctor and work with him to get an accurate diagnosis, since the medical treatments for each disease are different it is important you get an accurate diagnosis. Thankfully both diseases respond well to treatment and changes in diet and exercise.

Both autoimmune diseases, Fibromyalgia and MS are consistently crossing paths with each other. Autoimmune diseases often come in twos and threes so those that are diagnosed with one will often have another. Many times these two diseases are confused with each other, or sometimes fibromyalgia will precede a multiple sclerosis diagnosis by a few years. They share many similar symptoms however there are clear difference between these two diseases.

Fibromyalgia and MS share much of the same symptoms such as pain, numbness, tingling, muscle stiffness, and loss of muscle function. Both conditions can be debilitating in their own way, and both share the tendency for sleep difficulties and fatigue. This can make it difficult sometimes to make a diagnosis, and for doctors that do not always do their homework often a misdiagnosis can occur for either one.

 Diagnosis of Fibromyalgia to date does not include any visual tests such as MRIs or blood tests, but is based on patient history, symptoms and the tender points test. This test identifies 18 tender points that are highly sensitive and painful when pressure is applied.

This is one of the places where fibromyalgia and MS differ; MS is a degenerative disease that is usually visibly detectable in MRIs and other tests. Multiple sclerosis causes damage to the myelin sheath around the spinal cord and this eventually causes nerve damage. This disease is usually progressive leaving some people unable to walk and the damage is permanent.

For those with fibromyalgia there is no collateral damage of this type, and while the symptoms are very real and painful, it is not degenerative in anyway. The real damage of fibromyalgia comes from the debilitating pain that can lead to a lack of activity, which along with depression can often lead to a slow progression of other disease processes that have recently been linked to fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia and MS often run in the same families, which is another reason they can be misdiagnosed. If you think you may have one disease or another be sure to see your doctor and work with him to get an accurate diagnosis, since the medical treatments for each disease are different it is important you get an accurate diagnosis. Thankfully both diseases respond well to treatment and changes in diet and exercise.