Fibromyalgia in children and adults comes with many challenges. People living with fibromyalgia deal with many uncomfortable symptoms, but it’s not the only thing that makes this health condition challenging to bear. Apart from not having a cure, fibromyalgia is also a complex illness to diagnose.
Things will be so much easier if there is a test kit that can immediately show whether you are suffering from this condition or not. Perhaps a lab test where they extract blood will also make the diagnosis much simpler. Unfortunately, things don’t come that easy when it comes to fibromyalgia. Instead, both doctor and patient must work together to develop an accurate fibromyalgia diagnosis.
It’s not uncommon for fibromyalgia patients to be misdiagnosed. The National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association estimate an average of five years to diagnose fibromyalgia correctly. So what happens between your first attempt to find out what your diagnosis is and the estimated five years searching for answers? You can get a different diagnosis with symptoms close to fibromyalgia.
8 Common Conditions That Can Mimic Fibromyalgia in Children and Adults
Fibromyalgia is a challenging health condition to diagnose. Other health conditions that can have similar symptoms as fibromyalgia are making it more difficult, such as:
Lupus is common in women with fibromyalgia. If you have lupus, you will likely experience joint pains, fatigue, memory issues, headaches, and stomachaches. What differs fibromyalgia from lupus is that lupus is an autoimmune disease that can cause inflammation in the major organs in the body, such as the brain, heart, kidneys, and lung tissues.
2. Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
This autoimmune disorder affects the brain and spinal cord and can potentially damage the nerves involved. As a result, some MS patients lose their sight or the ability to walk. In addition, it can be confused for fibromyalgia due to symptoms such as pain, fatigue, brain fog, and insomnia.
3. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Another autoimmune disorder that can get mixed up with fibromyalgia is rheumatoid arthritis. This disorder causes inflammation in the lining of your joints and typically starts in the hands and feet. RA also affects your heart, lungs, eyes, skin, and other body parts. People with RA and fibromyalgia share the symptoms of fatigue, weakness, and constant pain. RA patients tend to have stiff and swollen joints compared to fibro patients.
4. Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR)
Both fibromyalgia and PMR are challenging to diagnose. PMR is an inflammatory disease causing widespread pain, usually in the joints and muscles. This condition causes stiffness and widespread pain that suddenly occurs. Adults over 55 typically experience PMR, while fibromyalgia can happen to anyone, and there are cases of fibromyalgia in children too. However, both conditions share similar symptoms, such as widespread achiness and interrupted sleep.
5. Axial Spondyloarthritis
This is an inflammatory type of arthritis causing back pain. This condition affects the bones in your spine and the area where it meets the pelvis. Some Axial Spondyloarthritis symptoms that can be confused with fibromyalgia are fatigue, lower back pain, jaw pain, and GI issues.
This thyroid disease is caused by reduced or low production of hormones which causes memory loss, constipation, and muscle weakness. Said symptoms are also found in fibromyalgia patients. There are times, though, when both health conditions exist in the same patient.
It’s common for anemic patients to feel weak and tired and have headaches. Fibromyalgia patients typically complain about the same symptoms. Headaches are also common for both conditions, but anemic patients don’t usually have tingling sensations or muscle pain. Lack of iron is the usual cause of anemia, but inflammation can also trigger anemia.
8. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
Fibromyalgia and CFS are similar; hence, it is not surprising to confuse them. They are almost identical chronic conditions. Fibromyalgia and CFS patients have symptoms like brain fog, headaches, poor sleep, and constant exhaustion. Women are more likely to develop both conditions than men.
Despite the similarity, these two conditions are different. CFS patients have enlarged lymph nodes and sore throats and are more crippled by fatigue, unlike fibromyalgia patients with debilitating pain as their primary complaint.
Co-existing Illness Can Delay Fibromyalgia Diagnosis
Sometimes, the health conditions mentioned above can exist along with fibromyalgia. When this happens, patients can experience overlapping symptoms, making it much more challenging for doctors to diagnose accurately.
More importantly, your fibromyalgia and RA, for example, need to be treated separately. There is also a high probability of autoimmune disease patients developing fibromyalgia due to the stress and chronic pain accompanying their primary illness.
Natural Care for Fibromyalgia in Children and Adults
Once your doctor comes up with a successful and accurate fibromyalgia diagnosis, you are now facing the challenges of finding proper care to provide lasting relief.
Fibromyalgia is often triggered by physical or psychological stress. Injury and trauma are also possible triggers of this condition. When a person experiences injury or trauma close to the neck or head, there is a big chance that the upper cervical bones will shift out of alignment.
This misalignment can trigger different uncomfortable symptoms due to the pressure it brings to the brainstem. The upper cervical bones protect your brainstem – C1 and C2 – and when it endures stress and pressure, it malfunctions and sends distorted and improper signals to and from the brain and body.
Due to these wrong signals, a light touch endured by the body can be perceived as something more severe, like fibromyalgia pain and symptoms. The wrong signals excite the pain receptors, causing the person to feel the pain that does not exist or is not very painful.
Only Upper Cervical Chiropractic doctors can correct the alignment of your upper cervical spine and bring it back to its correct spot. If you’re unsure where to find a reputable one, visit our directory of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Doctors. You will find a list of chiropractic doctors helping fibromyalgia patients manage their symptoms and get long-term relief.