Can Fibromyalgia Cause Multiple Sclerosis?

One of the worries that many fibromyalgia sufferers have is that this fibromyalgia is going to turn into another issue that they will have to deal with their entire lives.

This is a huge part of the stress and worry that goes along with fibromyalgia. As if the person doesn’t have enough to deal with!

Those who are diagnosed and suffering from fibromyalgia are going to find that they often have the feeling that they are tired, no matter how much sleep they get.

They are often in pain and this pain can be excruciating for many. Dealing with being tired and having the pain all the time, the person can become weaker.

Top this with the mental issues that they may be facing, the constant worry and stress of what this illness is doing to their life, and it makes for a very difficult life.

The good news is that there are tons of people in the world who have fibromyalgia and who are living a life that is pain-free and relaxing.

The key is to find that balance. One of the best ways to do this is to educate yourself on what can be done and all those other fears that you are having.

Education is power in this case, as you need to know what could happen and how to deal with is happening currently.

As stated before, many fibromyalgia patients have a fear that this illness is going to turn into something else.

One of the main fears is that fibromyalgia can turn into multiple sclerosis? This is not a farfetched question as they do share some common symptoms.

For example, both fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis share:

  1. The constant fatigue
  2. The pain that is felt
  3. Having issues with sleep
  4. Cognitive problems
  5. Having headaches and migraines frequently
  6. Problems with the bladder or the bowels

Due to the symptoms of each being similar, it can be easy to confuse one with the other.

It is not uncommon to hear of people who have been diagnosed with one or both of these conditions at the same time.

This is why it is important to know the information about each of these issues.

Who is Affected?

Both fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis or MS can affect whoever they choose.

However, it should be noted that fibromyalgia is much more common than MS.

In the United States alone, fibromyalgia affects around six to ten percent of those who live here, while MS affects below ten percent of those who call the US home.

Therefore, the chances of developing MS are much lower than compared to fibromyalgia.

It should be noted though that both fibromyalgia and MS are affected more women than men. Men and children too can get this, but it is mostly seen in women.

Diagnosing these Issues

Since the symptoms of each are so similar, diagnosing which the person has can become an issue.

Doctors are going to have to look at various aspects to ensure that they are treating for the right condition and that they have properly diagnosed this.

For those who are being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, the following criteria are what a person must meet:

  1. They must have a Widespread Pain Index Score of 7 or greater and the Symptoms Severity scale score is 5 or greater
  2. They have a Widespread Pain Index Score that is from 3 to 6 and the Symptom Severity Scale is 9 or greater

Either condition should be met. The doctor is not only going to look at where the pain is originating from, but also how the person responds to the pain that they are having.

For those who are being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, they are going to find that diagnoses rely heavily on upon:

  • Brain and spine images seen via MRI
  • The doctors are looking for lesions in these areas

The doctor will also take into account the other symptoms that a person is having. However, for a definite diagnosis of MS, the lesions must be seen in the brain and spine.

Can Fibromyalgia Cause MS?

The main question that many people are wanting to be answered, can fibromyalgia cause MS? This is something that does not happen very often.

There are no scientific findings that point to fibromyalgia leading to MS. However, this is not to say that a person cannot have both issues.

This is up to the doctor to determine based on tests and their personal feelings towards the findings.

Those who do have fibromyalgia are not going to find that this illness leads to disease later down the line.

However, if a person were to get diagnosed with MS, this is not due to the fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia can cause several issues in a person, but MS is not one of those known issues that it is causing.

As we study this illness more, there may be a time that medical professionals can pinpoint every single thing that can happen to a person when they are dealing with fibromyalgia and a combination of dealing with MS. However, only time will tell if we can get to this level of knowledge.

Both illnesses are going to have an impact on the quality of life that the person is living, and they may find that it makes it impossible to perform some day to day activities.

Many people often state that with either issue they feel disabled as they are not going to be able to do those things that they once did. This is normal to feel like this.

The key is to work with your doctor to find medications and ways that you can deal with the fatigue and the pain.

You want to maintain as normal of a life as you can, and with the help of your medical professional, you can get close.

It is also important that a person ensures they are being optimistic about what they need to do in order to stay healthy!

What You Need to Know About the Differences Between Fibromyalgia and MS

Both fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis are diseases of the nervous system that cause a wide range of vague and unpleasant symptoms.

However, the two conditions are still quite different in their underlying causes, disease progression, and treatment options. Keep reading to learn what all the differences are between fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis.

What Is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal pain disorder. This means that its primary characteristic is widespread aches and pains in the muscles and skeletons.

All of this pain occurs because the brain is improperly processing pain signals, so it is not caused by actual damage to the muscles.

Fibromyalgia does not always progress in a straightforward fashion. In some patients, the symptoms get worse, while in others, symptoms may gradually fade and go away.

According to a study from the Journal of Pain Research, some fibromyalgia patients can actually end up not displaying symptoms for the course of years.

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis is a central nervous system disease. In people with MS, the immune system attacks and damages the protective coating around the nerve fibers.

This makes it tricky for the brain to communicate with the body, so it causes a wide range of issues with the nervous system.

Multiple sclerosis tends to consistently worsen. Over time, multiple sclerosis may become quite disabling. As the nerves deteriorate, it can become more and more difficult for people to control their body.

Eventually, some patients with MS lose mobility and require assistance to perform daily tasks.

In most patients, the disease tends to progress in a period of relapses. Patients alternate between months of no symptoms and weeks of severe attacks with new symptoms developing.

However, some people have a version called primary-progressive MS where symptoms always worsen without a break.

Fibromyalgia Vs. MS

Now that you understand the basics of these diseases, it is time to take a closer look at multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia.

They might both be disorders associated with malfunctioning nerves and chronic pain, but their differences are larger than their similarities. Here are a few things to know about fibromyalgia versus multiple sclerosis.

Who Is Likely to Get Fibromyalgia or MS?

Fibromyalgia is far more common among women than men. There does seem to be some genetic component to the disease because people are more likely to get the condition if they have a relative with fibromyalgia.

Having other immune disorders like lupus greatly increases your risk of getting fibromyalgia.

Like fibromyalgia, MS is also more common among those with autoimmune disorders, people with a family history of the disease, or women.

The National MS Society says there are up to three-time as many female patients as males. However, unlike fibromyalgia, MS is more likely among white people or people living in temperate climates.

What Are the Causes of Fibromyalgia and MS?

A big similarity between multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia is that their exact cause still is not understood.

Both are often triggered by an illness, some sort of genetic issue, or a problem with nerves. However, they can sometimes develop spontaneously with no obvious trigger.

The underlying causes of the symptoms do differ though. The symptoms of multiple sclerosis are caused by the immune system breaking down the myelin sheath around the spinal cord and brainstem.

All the pain from fibromyalgia seems to be due to abnormally high levels of brain chemicals that signal pain.

What Are the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia and MS?

There are only a few overlapping symptoms between fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis. Both conditions can result in sensations of fatigue or exhaustion.

If you have either condition, you may find it hard to control bowel and bladder function, resulting in constipation, accidents, and other problems.

Fibromyalgia’s primary symptom is widespread pain which is not common among MS patients. It often feels like a dull ache occurring through vast parts of the body.

People with the condition may feel too foggy and confused to focus on tasks, and they tend to suffer from headaches frequently.

You can learn more about the experiences of living with fibromyalgia by checking out this informative video from Danielle Jameson.

According to Debilitating Diseases, MS symptoms tend to primarily be sensations of numbness, weakness, tingling, or shakiness throughout the body.

People may suffer from double vision, slurred speech, dizziness, and vision loss. They will struggle to remain coordinated and move their body in the desired manner.

How Are Fibromyalgia and Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosed?

Symptoms of both conditions vary wildly, so it can be a little difficult to figure out what a patient has at first. When a person comes in with some sort of pain, weakness, or fatigue, doctors will need to run many types of diagnostic tests.

Before diagnosis either condition, doctors have to rule out other causes of pain and fatigue.

As Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains, fibromyalgia diagnoses tend to involve pressing tender points on the body to assess pain. To be officially diagnosed, a patient has to have pain throughout the body that lasts at least three months.

The diagnosis for MS tends to be a little more precise. Doctors can do MRI imaging tests to see if the brain and spinal cord coatings are degrading, and they can do a spinal tap to see if there are large levels of antibodies associated with MS.

Because MS can go into remission, it takes a while to actually diagnose it.

What Are the Treatments for Fibromyalgia and MS?

According to the American College of Rheumatology, there is no complete cure for fibromyalgia.

However, there are many drugs, including duloxetine and milnacipran, that can alter brain chemicals and provide relief.

Patients may need to take antidepressants and anti-seizure drugs to manage symptoms further.

There is a wide variety of medications that may help with MS. These primarily include immunosuppressants that help to stop attacks and beta-infernos to reduce the frequency of relapses.

Corticosteroids can help to reduce overall inflammation while muscle relaxants can prevent muscle spasms.

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