Do I have fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis?

Fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis share some symptoms, such as pain and exhaustion. If a person has both conditions, the symptoms may be difficult to distinguish.

However, fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are unrelated and have different causes.

While many natural remedies are similar, medical treatments for these conditions are usually different.

In this article, we highlight differences in symptoms and describe the range of home remedies and treatments.

What are the differences?

Fibromyalgia pain

Fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis both feature pain and stiffness thoughout the body, but there are some differences.

Fibromyalgia usually causes pain, stiffness, and tenderness in muscles and connective tissues throughout the body. RA tends to cause pain, swelling, and tenderness in certain joints.

Other shared symptoms include:

  • pain felt in various parts of the body
  • pain mirrored on both sides of the body
  • stiffness that is worse in the morning or after long periods of rest
  • chronic exhaustion
  • reduced mobility and range of motion in muscles and joints
  • depression and anxiety

While the effects may be similar, these conditions have different causes.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic neurological condition, which means that it affects the nervous system.

Fibromyalgia changes the way the brain and nervous system process and interpret pain. People with the condition tend to feel amplified pain when they experience everyday injuries, such as strains.

RA is an autoimmune condition. It causes the immune system to harm the synovial tissues, which line the joints. This leads to inflammation and pain.

Over time, RA can cause permanent damage to the bones and connective tissues in the joints. Inflammation may also spread to the lungs, skin, and eyes.

The medical community currently does not believe that fibromyalgia causes inflammation. However, recent research indicates that fibromyalgia may induce a type of inflammation that is not detected by routine blood tests.

No evidence suggests that this inflammation causes joint or muscle damage like RA, and there may be no visible signs.

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