Fibromyalgia and Lupus: Understanding the Key Differences


Two conditions that sometimes get mistaken for one another are fibromyalgia and lupus. Why does the confusion happen? Basically, it is because both conditions can cause widespread pain throughout the body. However, that is pretty much where the similarities end. So how can you tell the difference between fibromyalgia and lupus?

We are going to take a closer look at some more similarities between fibromyalgia and Lupus. Then we will discuss the critical differences between these two different health conditions. Finally, we will conclude with a natural therapy that has benefited fibromyalgia patients in case studies. 

Similar Symptoms of Fibromyalgia and Lupus 

We already mention that both conditions present with pain, although you will note in the next section that the pain from these two ailments is very different. What are some of the other similar symptoms that cause people to confuse fibromyalgia and lupus

  • Fatigue
  • Skin irritations
  • Degree of disability caused by the condition
  • Stiffness in the morning
  • Cognitive symptoms
  • Migraines
  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • Changes in weight 
  • Difficult to diagnose – requires ruling out many other conditions 

So there are some similarities. However, there are far more differences between these two chronic health issues. Let’s isolate the two conditions to learn more.

What Is Lupus? 

Lupus is an autoimmune condition. The difference in disease category is one of the most significant differences between the two illnesses. With an autoimmune condition, your health problems relate to your own immune system attacking your body. When it comes to lupus, the body may target many different systems and organs, resulting in a wide array of symptoms that can mimic various health problems. In fact, you may not even experience all of the symptoms noted above that make fibromyalgia and lupus seem similar.

Some of the symptoms that can help to set lupus apart include:

  • Inflammation – This is the primary cause of pain for a person living with lupus. The source of pain for fibromyalgia patients is different. 
  • Photosensitivity – Fibromyalgia patients can also be photosensitive. However, this is the only real sensory sensitivity that occurs with lupus, and there are many more sensitivities associated with fibromyalgia. 
  • Malar rash – This is a facial rash, also called a butterfly rash. 
  • Protein in urine – When your kidneys filter out waste, some conditions can cause good proteins to be filtered accidentally. Lupus is one such condition.  
  • Mouth ulcers – Also called canker sores, this is another prevalent symptom.
  • Reduced WBC count – Any autoimmune condition that attacks the immune system is going to reduce your white blood cell count. 

What Is Fibromyalgia? 

While the true nature of fibromyalgia is unknown, researchers have determined that it is not actually musculoskeletal in nature. It seems to be related to the central nervous system, making it a neurological condition. That doesn’t mean the pain and other symptoms are all in your head. It just means that the pain may relate to the way the brain and body are communicating.

What are some of the symptoms that help to set fibromyalgia apart? 

  • Pain without inflammation – Almost every chronic pain condition also causes inflammation. For example, you may sometimes feel like your hands or feet are swollen in the morning, but visually you can see that they are not. 
  • Specific tender points – Besides general pain, fibromyalgia presents with 18 tender points that serve diagnostic purposes for some practitioners. 
  • Sleep disturbances – From difficulty falling asleep to problems staying asleep, fibromyalgia causes a number of sleep problems.  
  • Sensory sensitivities – Unlike lupus, which presents with photosensitivity, fibromyalgia may subject a person to light, sound, touch, and smell sensitivities. 

Fibromyalgia and Lupus Mortality Rates 

Fibromyalgia is not a fatal condition, although it does increase a person’s risk of suicide. On the other hand, untreated lupus is almost sure to result in premature death. Most lupus patients pass away from kidney failure. The kidney problems are what result in the symptom of protein in the urine. Fortunately, modern lupus treatments allow up to 90% of patients to live to an average lifespan. 

While fibromyalgia is primarily non-fatal, you want to find the best ways possible to mitigate your symptoms. This can help you to increase your quality of life. If you are looking for a natural way to get help for fibromyalgia, upper cervical chiropractic care may be just what you are looking for. 

Upper Cervical Chiropractic and Fibromyalgia 

Would you like an example that shows the precise and gentle adjustments of upper cervical chiropractic can be effective for persons living with fibromyalgia? 

In one case study, a 45-year-old woman had been living with fibromyalgia for 11 years following two major traumas and some minor car accidents. She also got migraines and experienced neck pain, lower back pain, and knee pain. X-rays helped to identify an upper cervical subluxation. After upper cervical chiropractic adjustments, the patient had her fibromyalgia symptoms completely clear up, along with most of her other health problems. 

While not everyone gets the same results, anyone living with fibromyalgia should at least have their upper cervical spine checked for a misalignment that could be contributing to the symptoms. For some patients, the results are astonishing. It may be just the sort of natural help you crave.

To learn more, contact an upper cervical specific chiropractor in your area. Scheduling your appointment may be your first step on the path to better overall health and well-being. You may even find relief from your fibromyalgia symptoms.

Find An Upper Cervical Doctor in Your Areato schedule a consultation today.

Find an Upper Cervical Specialist In Your Area

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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.