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Fibromyalgia Syndrome: An “arthritis-related condition”

Fibromyalgia Arthritis

Fibromyalgia, also known as fibromyalgia syndrome, is considered as an “arthritis-related condition”. And, many people often get confused between two different conditions: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and fibromyalgia since most of their symptoms seem similar. So in this article, we will give you an in-depth look into the fibromyalgia disease as well as some distinct differences between this disease and rheumatoid arthritis.


What is Fibromyalgia?
Who is affected by Fibromyalgia?
What causes Fibromyalgia Syndrome?
What are signs and symptoms of Fibromyalgia Syndrome?
How can Fibromyalgia Syndrome be diagnosed?
How Fibromyalgia Syndrome can be treated?

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia (Fibromyalgia syndrome FMS) is a condition of chronic pain of muscles, ligament, tendons and soft-bodied organisms of the body. Fibromyalgia can involve fatigue, sleeplessness or depression but not lead to muscle or joint damage.

Most of the fibromyalgia patients show signs of generalized pain, muscle pain similar to the body’s condition after having carried out hard physical tasks, as well as the twisting, burning pain of the muscles.

Fibromyalgia Syndrome: An "arthritis-related condition" - 1

Fibromyalgia Syndrome: An “arthritis-related condition” – 1

Who is affected by Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia Syndrome can occur in any people at any age. However, we commonly see the disease in people at the age between 50 to 60 and in women. Otherwise people who are overweight and inactive have increased risk of having Fibromyalgia Syndrome. Fibromyalgia patients account for 2% of the world’s population. In United State of America, there are about 3 to 6 million people infected with fibromyalgia every year. Ones have higher risk of Fibromyalgia are also individuals with other chronic disease such as: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), or other autoimmune diseases. Fibromyalgia is not life-threatening but if no treatment is taken, Fibromyalgia symptoms might develop and interfere severely the patient’s life quality, daily activities. Fibromyalgia syndrome was first depicted in 1976. The name started from a Latin term called “fibrra” as fiber, Greek’s word “myo” as muscle and “algos” as pain. A doctor named Muhammad B. Yunus was the first to public clinical research about fibromyalgia syndrome in 1981. In the year 1987, fibromyalgia syndrome was recognized by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) as a disease which can cause disability. And then in 1990, the organization introduced diagnosis criteria for Fibromyalgia Syndrome.

What causes Fibromyalgia Syndrome?

Until now, the scientists have not detected Fibromyalgia Syndrome’s causes. However, there is some thesis that was researched and agreed on:

Genetic factors

There was evidences show that genes play a role in the causing of Fibromyalgia Syndrome: hereditary links, genes in the systems of serotonin, dopamine, or catecholamine. However, these genes do not act themselves but together with other diseases: chronic fatigue, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, depression, etc.


Researches show stress is one factor that should be noted in the onset and developing process of Fibromyalgia Syndrome. This is because stress can alter the function of HPA acid and the amount of cortisone in the body then lead to long-lasting widespread pain.

Sleep disturbance

From researches on electro encephalon grams, it can be seen that the patients with Fibromyalgia Syndrome lack low waves of the sleep, and therefore affect the forth phase of the sleep.

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Fibromyalgia Syndrome: An “arthritis-related condition” – 2


Studies indicate the amount of Dopamine in the patient’s body is decreased as a result of Dopamine synthetic process as well releasing process being reduced and related to neurological diseases such as Parkinson.


The decrease in level of hormones is believed to be a consequence of stress. This will lead to the fluctuation of Hypothalamus, severe effect on sleep, reduction in hormones’ products in slow-wave sleep.


Other factors have been believed to be the causes of fibromyalgia are: serotonin reduction, Epstein Barr Virus, autoimmune diseases, etc.

What are signs and symptoms of Fibromyalgia Syndrome?


The patient has to suffer from widespread chronic pain with no certain area, throughout the whole body. Especially, the fibromyalgia patient will feel the deep pain in muscles, the tendon pain which feels like burning, or cutting. There are also tender points which are mostly distributed at neck, shoulders, back. The pain usually occurs in the morning and evening. Children can have the chance of fibromyalgia syndrome. In case the child has signs of this disease, it is necessary to conduct thorough check carefully to make sure that it is not growing pain.


This is one of the main reasons that confuse people with other diseases. The patient will experience continuous fatigue, total loss of energy, impossible to concentrate on anything. This condition is described as “brain fatigue” and “fibro fog”.

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Fibromyalgia Syndrome: An “arthritis-related condition” – 3

Sleep disturbance

 Insomnia, frequent awakenings and difficulty when trying to sleep are the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia. This causes even more severe fatigue to the patient, energy loss that worsens the health of the already-ill person.

Unreasonable chronic headache

70% of the patients have this symptom. Though the patients do not feel dizzy, vomit or blurry vision.

Morning stiffness

This symptom is similar to that of rheumatoid or inflammatory arthritis, which confuses most of us. Studies indicate that the majority of the patients have to experience morning stiffness right after they get up. This can last for few minutes, but in most of the case, morning stiffness will last for more than 15 to 20 minutes per day.

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Fibromyalgia Syndrome: An “arthritis-related condition” – 4

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Symptoms like stomachache, constipation, diarrhea stools, frequent sniffs or nausea, accounting for 70% of all cases, 2 to 5% have gastroesophageal reflux syndrome.

Other symptoms

Other symptoms can be named: symptoms of postmenopausal syndrome (hot flushes, sweating, irregular, etc.), chest pain, frostbitten extremities, and feeling of swelling in the extremities, hypersensitivity skin, and bladder irritation syndrome. The patients can be very sensitive to light, noise and response negatively to medicines.

Factors contributing the disease development

  • Weather change
  • Allergy
  • Hormone changes
  • Stress
  • Depression

How can Fibromyalgia Syndrome be diagnosed?

There is no certain test to detect the existence of Fibromyalgia. The only way is to base on the history of the patient, clinical symptoms, clinical check with tender points, on the ground of 2 standard criteria of American College of Rheumatology in 1990:

  • History of pain lasting for more than 3 months: the pain spread three forths of the body (one side of both side of the body, above or under the lumbar spine)
  • Tender points: including 18 points on the body. When diagnoseing, the doctor can put 4kg pressure on those tender points. The disease will be diagnosed when the patient has 11 out 18 tender points.
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Fibromyalgia Syndrome: An “arthritis-related condition” – 5

However, while it seems that most lab tests are not exceptionally valuable without anyone else for diagnosing fibromyalgia, there is a blood test – called FM/a – that perceives markers made by safe structure platelets in individuals with fibromyalgia. One study demonstrated the test can in like way see fibromyalgia from different conditions that can have relative responses, for case, rheumatoid joint disturbance or lupus.

Therefore, while getting a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, you need to bear in mind these things:

  • Chronic pain, that is expansive, is not in your head, but rather there could be contributing to emptional issues such as depression. The pain is genuine and should be studied.
  • Keeping a diary of your pain symptoms will make it less challenging to confide with your doctor about the pain. It will make sure that the doctor has the data expected that would really assess your condition.
  • Consultation with a pain specialist (often rheumatologist) who is acquainted with fibromyalgia can dismember or markdown fibromyalgia as a reason behind the pain.
  • There are productive treatments for fibromyalgia that can turn the crippling impact of the hopelessness and significantly enhance a person’s daily life.

How Fibromyalgia Syndrome can be treated?


  • Analgesics: there are many drugs reduce pain in FMS as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug group, COX-2 inhibitors, tramadol, pregabalin (Lyrica) …
  • Muscle relaxant drugs: muscle relaxant drugs are used in combination with analgesics for the treatment of FMS: Myonal, Mydocalm, Contramyl …
  • Injection of pain points (tender points) with steroids (Hydrocortisone, Depo-Medrol …)
  • Antidepressants: some antidepressants can thapco doses used in the treatment of FMS to help improve sleep for patients: amitriptyline, trazodone … However, it should be noted that, not FMS patients depression should not misuse this drug class for the treatment of FMS.
  • Selective serotonin inhibitors.
  • Antibiotics dopamine: pramipexol (Mirapex), rropiroloe (Requip)
  • The drug stimulates the central nervous.
  • New drugs being studied in the treatment of FMS: Milnacipran is a serotonin-norepinephrine inhibitors, effective treatment Milnacipran well in some European countries and has been FDA approved to treat FMS July 2008. Apart Dextromethorphan a new drug is also being studied in clinical trials treating FMS.
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Fibromyalgia Syndrome: An “arthritis-related condition” – 6


  • Physical Therapy: movement therapy , heat therapy, hydro- therapy, massage , acupuncture, etc. All produce good results in reducing fibromyalgia pain. This will help the patient know how to reduce pain in everyday life. You should find licensed physical therapist has a background in anatomy and kinesiology for professional guidance and advices.
  • Psychological therapy: very helpful for fibromyalgia patients, especially at the onset phase.


If you have Fibromyalgia Syndrome, you should also take your diet into account as it would greatly help to improve your health condition, relieve pain if the diet is suitable.

Actually, research hasn’t demonstrated that there are particular nourishments that all fibromyalgia patients ought to maintain a strategic distance from or add to their eating methodologies. In any case, it might at present be advantageous to investigate how sustenances affect the way you feel.

“There aren’t numerous great studies that have taken a gander at how eating regimen can influence fibromyalgia side effects. Be that as it may, I think we can accumulate a ton from narrative confirmation – from what patients let us know,” says Ginevra Liptan, MD, restorative executive of the Frida Center for Fibromyalgia in Portland, Ore., and creator of Figuring Out Fibromyalgia: Current Science and the Most Effective Treatments.

Here are several ways specialists say food can assume a part in fibromyalgia and tips on how you can change your eating routine to bolster your general wellbeing:

Pay Attention on How Food Makes You Feel

“Many people with fibromyalgia have sensitivities to specific sustenances, yet it changes from individual to individual,” Liptan tells WebMD. “They may be touchy to MSG, certain additives, eggs, gluten, dairy, or other regular allergens.”

Truth be told, in a study distributed in the diary Clinical Rheumatology, 42% of fibromyalgia patients said their side effects intensified in the wake of eating certain nourishments.

A decent approach to begin distinguishing the sustenances that may bother your manifestations, Liptan and different specialists say, is keeping a day by day nourishment diary.

“I have a few patients keep a sustenance diary for two weeks,” says James McKoy, MD, head of torment pharmaceutical, executive of corresponding drug, and staff rheumatologist at Kaiser Permanente in Honolulu. “They write down the foods they ate each day and whether they had symptoms like headaches or fatigue. It can be very helpful, because sometimes we see, for instance, that they have more fatigue when they eat a particular food.”

Try Eliminating Certain Foods

On the off chance that a fibromyalgia patient has irritable bowel symptoms, the doctor regularly suggests they attempt an end challenge diet. They quit eating a specific sustenance they think they’re touchy to for six to eight weeks. At that point they add it back to their eating regimen and perceive how they feel. Eliminating dairy products or foods containing gluten is one of the choices.

 We have just provided you some general information on Fibromyalgia Syndrome. This will help you have better understanding of the disease and distinguish it with arthritis types with similar symptoms. Hope you find this article helpful and knowledgeable.