In response to the question asking whether Fibromyalgia is similar to RSD / CRPS

We have supplied more detailed information below but let’s get to some of the main points up front;

  1. CRPS OR FIBRO? – Can the two diseases be confused? Can you have the two diseases at the same time? Yes and yes. As you can read by the descriptions below there are similarities in the symptoms but the causes are much different. There are also other differences such as; while Fibromyalgia can be quite painful there still exists no other chronic pain syndrome that touches RSD/CRPS in its intensity; Fibromyalgia can come and go into remission for weeks or months at a time while it is much more rare for that to happen for RSD/CRPS. There are others but you get the idea. They are still often confused in a diagnosis by some Doctors as many see so little of either. The other problem that occurs is that many RSD/CRPS patients develop Fibromyalgia and end up with both to some degree. There is even a theory being put forth that as the Fibro intensifies, the RSD lessens. There is a research underway to examine the mitochondrial DNA link on the maternal side of families where there are multiple instances of many of these diseases; RSD/CRPS, Fibromyalgia, MS, etc.
  2. DIAGNOSIS – Diagnosis of fibromyalgia includes a history of at least three months of widespread pain, and pain in at least 11 of 18 tender-point sites. (below you will find an illustration of a body showing the various trigger points for Fibromyalgia)
  3. DESCRIPTION – A strict definition of Fibromyalgia is “A common rheumatic syndrome indicating widespread pain in fibrous tissues, muscles, tendons, and other connective tissues, resulting in painful muscles without weakness. Fatigue is almost always present and can be extreme at times.” The overwhelming characteristic of fibromyalgia is long-standing pain at defined tender points, which are not the same as trigger points. Tender points hurt only when pressed. Trigger points can be tender locally and lead to traveling or spreading pain. The soft-tissue pain is described as deep-aching, radiating, gnawing, shooting or burning, and ranges from mild to severe. Fibromyalgia sufferers tend to waken with body aches and stiffness. Pain improves during the day and often increases again during the evening. Pain can increase with activity; cold, damp weather; anxiety; and stress.
  4. SYMPTOMS – Most patients with fibromyalgia say that they ache all over. Their muscles may feel like they have been pulled or overworked. Sometimes the muscles twitch and at other times they burn. More women than men are afflicted with fibromyalgia, but it shows up in people of all ages. Pain – The pain of fibromyalgia has no boundaries. People describe the pain as deep muscular aching, burning, throbbing, shooting and stabbing. Quite often, the pain and stiffness are worse in the morning and you may hurt more in muscle groups that are used repetitively. Multiple Tender Areas – (muscle and joint pain) on the back of the neck, shoulders, sternum, lower back, hip, shin, elbows, knees. Chronic headaches – Recurrent migraine or tension-type headaches are seen in about 50% of fibromyalgia patients and can pose as a major problem in coping for this patient group. Fatigue – This symptom can be mild in some patients and yet incapacitating in others. The fatigue has been described as “brain fatigue” in which patients feel totally drained of energy. Many patients depict this situation by saying that they feel as though their arms and legs are tied to concrete blocks, and they have difficulty concentrating. Sleep Disturbances – Most fibromyalgia patients have an associated sleep disorder called the alpha-EEG anomaly. This condition was uncovered in a sleep lab with the aid of a machine which recorded the brain waves of patients during sleep. Researchers found that fibromyalgia syndrome patients could fall asleep without much trouble, but their deep level (or stage 4) sleep was constantly interrupted by bursts of awake-like brain activity. The sleep pattern for clinically depressed patients is distinctly different from that found in FMS or CFS. Body Aches. Reduced Exercise Tolerance. Irritable Bowel Syndrome – Constipation, diarrhea, frequent abdominal pain, abdominal gas and nausea represent symptoms frequently found in roughly 40% to 70% of fibromyalgia patients. Chronic Facial Muscle Pain or AchingOther Common Symptoms – Painful menstrual periods (dysmenorrhea), chest pain, morning stiffness, cognitive or memory impairment, numbness and tingling sensations, muscle twitching, irritable bladder, the feeling of swollen extremities, skin sensitivities, dry eyes and mouth, frequent changes in eye prescription, dizziness, and impaired coordination can occur. Aggravating factors – Changes in weather, cold or drafty environments, hormonal fluctuations (premenstrual and menopausal states), stress, depression, anxiety and over-exertion can all contribute to symptom flare-ups.
  5. ALTERNATIVE NAMES – Fibromyositis; Fibrositis; Myofasical Pain Syndrome.

There are also sections on; Causes, Incidence, and Risk Factors; Treatment; Prognosis; Sleep; Links; Articles, and more. Scattered throughout the website we also have many articles on this disease as so many RSD/CRPS patients also have Fibromyalgia. The key to diagnosis comes back to the Trigger Points explained above.

1) The information above was supplied by the American RSDHope organization. We are not medical professionals of any type. Always check with your Doctor before starting or stopping any medication or treatment regimen.

For more information on Fibromyalgia on our website click here!