POLYMYALGIA -V- FIBROMYALGIA – OR COULD YOU HAVE BOTH?…

Both polymyalgia and fibromyalgia may cause depression related to living with a painful chronic condition. According to the Mayo Clinic, older adults, usually over age 65, are more likely to be diagnosed with polymyalgia rheumatica. It’s rare in people under age 50, but anyone can get #fibromyalgia at any age. But it tends to be more common in women than in men.

It is possible for a person to have both polymyalgia and fibromyalgia. Polymyalgia rheumatica is an inflammatory form of arthritis,   that’s believed to be autoimmune, meaning that the body is attacking its own healthy tissues because it mistakes them for infectious agents such as viruses or bacteria. Fibromyalgia does not show traditional signs of inflammation, though some recent research from 2017 suggests it may also involve inflammation.

Blood tests can usually diagnose polymyalgia, however, no single test can determine if a person has fibromyalgia, instead a physical exam that looks for specific tender points may be used. A doctor may also take blood samples to rule out inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis. 

Because of their surface similarities, it’s possible for polymgaliga rheumatica to be misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia or vice versa, or for either condition to be overlooked in someone who’s already diagnosed with one of the other.

Very Well Health points out that ‘ these two conditions, however, are very different and require different treatments. Knowing the symptoms of both can help you recognize whether you may have a new or undiagnosed condition that needs to be addressed.’

However, apart from their name and main symptom, fibromyalgia and polymyalgia have little in common. Even the muscle pain might be slightly different — some experts suggest polymyalgia muscle pain doesn’t include the tenderness you may experience with fibromyalgia muscle pain.

Treatment for polymyalgia is prescription corticosteroids, ith medication, you may see a major improvement in your polymyalgia symptoms in just a few days. If after two to three weeks on the medication you don’t get better, it’s likely you don’t have polymyalgia but another condition.

The main difference is that polymyalgia rheumatica is an inflammatory condition, and fibromyalgia is a non-inflammatory condition. Because of this, polymyalgia rheumatica responds to treatment with anti-inflammatory medications. Whereas fibromyalgia is a non-inflammatory condition caused by the nervous system that results in pain and is associated with fatigue, ‘brain fog’ and sleep problems and responds to a different set of medications.

I am a twin and my twin sister was diagnosed with polymyalgia rheumatica, whereas I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia but many years apart,  but we both feel this is also quite strange.

4 thoughts on “POLYMYALGIA -V- FIBROMYALGIA – OR COULD YOU HAVE BOTH?…

  1. I am an identical twin too. We both have had polymyalgia and fibromyalgia. The steroids were wonderful in controlling the polymyalgia but sadly we can’t have them anymore because we are suffering from brittle bones now. The fibromyalgia is an ongoing struggle. My twin has been diagnosed with Lupus but although we have the exact symptoms, they won’t go the whole hog and call it Lupus for me… We usually have the same maladies… I too think it’s strange what’s happening with you and your twin. I am tipping probably polymyalgia and fibro for you as well….

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  2. Hi Glenys thanks for your comment. It’s interesting to hear how you both have the same conditions. I’m hoping I don’t start with Polymyalgia. Take care.

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