Joint pain can be a symptom of both arthritis and fibromyalgia, but for arthritis sufferers, joint and bone degeneration accompanies joint pain. However fibromyalgia might feel like arthritis, it’s important to learn the difference.
Joint pain was found to be a symptom of fibromyalgia for 72 percent of the participants in a 1990 American College of Rheumatology study
that was used to establish criteria for diagnosis of the syndrome, according to the National Fibromyalgia Research Association
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The NFRA said that fibromyalgia also included the following symptoms:
- moderate to severe fatigue
- sleep disorders
- problems with cognitive functioning
- headaches and migraines
- anxiety and depression
- environmental sensitivities
All the participants in the ACR study reported muscle pain, which was felt in every quadrant of the body — upper, lower, left, and right.
According to American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association
, fibromyalgia pain has been described as:
- deep muscular aching
- intense burning
However, joint pain from arthritis radiates directly from joints and bones rather than the soft tissue around them, according to the Arthritis Foundation
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Joint pain from osteoarthritis comes from a deterioration of cartilage between the joints causing friction, pain, and inflammation. Rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis are both autoimmune conditions that cause inflammation in the joints.
The Arthritis Foundation said that joint pain in arthritis is determined by:
- pain, swelling, or stiffness in one or more joints
- joints that are red or warm to the touch
- joint tenderness or stiffness
- difficulty moving a joint or doing daily activities
While both fibromyalgia and arthritis can feel debilitating and hard on the joints, it’s the inflammation in arthritis that causes more long-term health consequences like crippling and death.
Sometimes, however, people suffer from both diseases, which can make a diagnosis harder to pin down. The Journal of Rheumatology reported that
10 percent to 20 percent of people with rheumatoid arthritis are diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The Arthritis Foundation reported
that figure was between 20 percent and 30 percent.
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