Accurately Diagnosing Fibromyalgia
the Clinical Pain Advisor take:
Fibromyalgia, a condition that causes muscle pain and fatigue throughout the entire body, is frequently misdiagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, among other conditions. Researchers had participants complete the Revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQR) and the Symptom Impact Questionnaire (SIQ) to determine specific symptoms that differentiate between these conditions.
Results from the questionnaires revealed three main differences that differentiate fibromyalgia from rheumatoid arthritis and lupus: tenderness to touch, difficulty cleaning floors, and discomfort sitting for 45 minutes.
The researchers concluded that these key differences should be incorporated into a new questionnaire to more accurately diagnose fibromyalgia and the other conditions.
Symptoms of fibromyalgia include trouble sleeping, morning stiffness, painful menstrual periods, tingling or numbness in the hands or feet, and problems with thinking or memory (“fibro fog”). Other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome or chronic fatigue syndrome may also occur with fibromyalgia. While its exact cause is unknown, doctors suspect that stressful or traumatic events, repetitive injuries, illness, other specific diseases, and genetics come into play.
The main differences between fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis are joint inflammation (which is present in rheumatoid arthritis but not in fibromyalgia), the progression of the illnesses (fibromyalgia does not progress but rheumatoid arthritis worsens over time with more damage to the joints), and noticing pain on one side of the body and then the other (this occurs in rheumatoid arthritis because of an abnormal immune system response that leads to inflammation).
The easiest way to determine the difference between fibromyalgia and lupus is if lupus rash or lupus kidney disease is present.
Key differentiations in fibromyalgia could provide a more accurate diagnosis.
Fibromyalgia is a condition that is easily confused with other health issues, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. For the latest study, researchers had participants complete the Revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQR) and the Symptom Impact Questionnaire (SIQ). The questionnaires were used to determine specific features that could outline differences between fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
Results from both questionnaires revealed the biggest differences between the three conditions involved ‘tenderness to touch,' ‘difficulty cleaning floors' and ‘discomfort on sitting for 45 minutes.' Other differences included mid-lower back pain, tenderness to touch, neck pain, hand pain, arm pain, outer lower back pain and sitting for 45 minutes.
The researchers concluded that these areas of pain should be combined for a new questionnaire to better diagnose and recognize fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
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