Certain types of inflammatory arthritis and fibromyalgia are often confused because their symptoms mimic one another in early stages.
Distinguishing between the two to yield a proper diagnosis is important to ensure proper treatment. Both are chronic disorders earmarked by long-lasting pain.
There are several types of inflammatory arthritis which include:
- rheumatoid arthritis
- ankylosing spondylitis
- psoriatic arthritis
Inflammatory arthritis leads to inflammation of the joints and surrounding tissues. Long-standing inflammatory arthritis can result in joint deformation and disability.
Fibromyalgia affects not only joints, but muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues in the elbows, hips, chest, knees, lower back, neck, and shoulders. Fibromyalgia can develop alone or with inflammatory arthritis.
Common Shared Symptoms
Both fibromyalgia and inflammatory arthritis sufferers have pain and stiffness in the morning. Other common symptoms shared by the two conditions include:
- sleep disturbances
- limited range of motion
- numbness or tingling
Tests to distinguish fibromyalgia and inflammatory arthritis include X-rays, blood tests, and ultrasound. Besides inflammatory arthritis, fibromyalgia also shares common symptoms with several other conditions.
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- HIV infection
- irritable bowel syndrome
- Lyme disease