Rheumatoid vs Fibromyalgia

Aches and pains are a part of life, especially as a person grows older. Pain can be caused by many different things besides bumping into something, including inflammation and swelling. These two causes can increase the pain felt in sore muscles, and also prolong the duration that these will last. Strenuous activity or even sitting or standing for extended periods of time can cause inflammation and swelling to become severe enough that they cause pain, sometimes extreme pain. When this pain is concentrated in the joints and bones, pain can become debilitating.While there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis or for fibromyalgia, sufferers should begin treatment as soon as they have a diagnosis. Treatment can keep other ailments from developing, such as fibromyalgia.

Sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis have a much higher incidence of developing fibromyalgia although fibromyalgia can develop on its own, without rheumatoid arthritis being present. The symptoms are very similar, so if someone has rheumatoid arthritis, they may miss the signs of fibromyalgia as it develops.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

RA Hands

∼One of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis is swelling and inflammation. This can create pressure on joints. After time, this pressure can actually damage the joints that are affected. The problems that rheumatoid arthritis creates continually gradually, flaring up, and then subsiding. Stiffness of the joints and a lack of ease of mobility are two other symptoms.

∼Redness around the joints, and being warmer than surrounding skin, as well as tenderness to the touch can point to rheumatoid arthritis, as well. With rheumatoid arthritis, when one side of the body is affected, such as the right elbow, the left elbow is usually affected.

∼Rheumatoid arthritis can also cause problems with the formation of the joints, altering them so that walking and other activities are painful, or even impossible. There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but with early treatment, the disease’s progression can be slowed, and symptoms minimized.

∼Testing can be done with a blood draw, and four out of five people who have rheumatoid arthritis will show that they have a substance in their blood called the Rheumatoid Factor. If the test is negative, a diagnosis can be made from other symptoms.∼

Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis

treatments for Fibromyalgia

Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis can include NSAIDS, such as aspirin or stronger medications, different types of inhibitors and depletors, immune suppressants, and steroids. Treatment depends on the stage that the disease was in when a diagnosis is made, and the severity of the symptoms.

Physical therapy can also help keep joints more limber, and keep them from freezing up. At home, liniments can help a great deal in coping with the pain, and pressurized bandages and socks can help decrease swelling in joints.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

∼Fibromyalgia has many of the same symptoms, but there are a few differences. While both produce fatigue, fibromyalgia sufferers will have a much stronger sense of being tired and exhausted. One major difference between the two is that fibromyalgia does not produce joint swelling. Joints may hurt, but in rheumatoid arthritis, muscles are not generally affected.

∼In fibromyalgia, muscles are continually left feeling weak and painful. The pain is not symmetrical, as it is in rheumatoid arthritis, but can be experienced on only one side of the body. For example, someone with fibromyalgia might have a shoulder that is affected, while the other shoulder is normal.

∼Other symptoms that rule out rheumatoid arthritis are problems concentrating on tasks, constant fatigue, irritability, problems sleeping even when extremely tired, and moodiness. rheumatoid arthritis does not cause these symptoms. If these are present, chances are higher that the pain and soreness is caused by fibromyalgia instead of rheumatoid arthritis, or that an rheumatoid arthritis sufferer is developing fibromyalgia. Additional symptoms can include headaches, dizziness, TMJ pain, pelvic pain, bladder and bowel inconsistencies, and restless legs.

Treatment of Fibromyalgia

∼Fibromyalgia can be excruciatingly painful, and many sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis also have fibromyalgia, but they are not the only ones who can develop this disease. Like rheumatoid arthritis, diagnosis and early treatment are very important to slowing the disease’s progress, and fibromyalgia also has no cure.

∼Treatment can consist of three medications. These are the only ones approved for fibromyalgia. They are pregabalin, an anti-seizure medication, and duloxetine and milnacipran, which are anti-depressants. While people may think that the last two may not help much with pain, they actually work to relieve a great deal. This is because they work with the same neurotransmitters that tell the brain pain is being felt by the body. The first helps by allowing the muscles to relax and not be as tense.

∼If you are experiencing joint and muscle pain, it is always best to be examined by a physician as soon as possible. The diagnosis may be something you might not want to hear, but without it, it is impossible to begin treatment to protect your health.

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