Illnesses That Cause Fibromyalgia Symptoms
Fibromyalgia can often be difficult to diagnose because there are a variety of illnesses that can have similar symptoms to the condition. The diagnosis process can be long and difficult. A doctor needs to rely a great deal on patient history. A tender point examination is conducted to test for the widespread pain that’s commonly experienced by fibro patients. Even that isn’t always enough. The doctor then needs to go through a process of elimination to exclude other illnesses that may have similar symptoms.
Misdiagnosis is not uncommon and can result in treatment that’s not fully effective. Here’s a look at some illnesses that have fibro-like symptoms but often require different treatments for pain relief.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome
This is a relatively new condition as far as the medical community is concerned. Of course, people have been experiencing this condition for many years. But it’s only just recently been recognized as a medical condition due to research done American doctors Travell and Simons late in the 1900s.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome requires different treatment than fibromyalgia, although it’s possible for fibro patients to also have myofascial pain.
To date physicians receive little training in treating and diagnosing Myofascial Pain Syndrome. Some signs of the condition that doctors try to look for include hard and tight muscles. Muscles often have knotty spots that can be found through a physical examination. These tight muscles can cause a build-up of lactic acid that makes the muscles stiffer. This can cause nausea or regular headaches. Restricted ability to move is common because the muscles are so tight.
Treatment includes prescription muscle relaxants, injection like botox, saline or lidocaine, and physiotherapy. Massage therapy can help and there are therapists trained in myofascial release therapy.
The chance of this illness is more common in some areas of the world (like North America) than other areas (like Europe). It’s a bacterial illness that’s transmitted by tiny deer ticks. The tick bites the person and the area surrounding the bite becomes red and infected. A rash develops and the person experiences flu-like symptoms.
Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose. Not everyone notices they’ve been bitten. One in four patients doesn’t even get the tell-tale rash. They may just think they have the flu, but later stages of the illness cause chronic joint pain, fatigue, cognitive difficulties and peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage).
Diagnosis is often made through Lyme blood testing if the illness is suspected. Lyme disease can also cause problems with the heart.
This is a rare condition in developed worlds. But a significant magnesium deficiency could be responsible for problems of the nervous system and impact the function of the muscles. Early symptoms are similar to fibro and include fatigue, cognitive dysfunction and insomnia. Other symptoms include muscle stiffness, muscle twitching, muscle cramps, and overall tingling sensation over the body, and hallucinations.
Some patients with fibromyalgia may also suffer from a mild form of magnesium deficiency. If this type of deficiency is suspected, the doctor may put the patient on magnesium supplements for three months and watch for improvement.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency are similar to those of fibromyalgia and often a person with this type of deficiency is mistakenly diagnosed with fibro. Symptoms include muscle weakness, fatigue, muscle aches and pain and bone pain.
The deficiency can be diagnosed with a blood test followed by supplement treatments. Supplements are available as chewable tablets to make it easier to take, but these often contain artificial sweeteners that can cause nausea and reduce the body’s ability to absorb the vitamin. Sometimes higher doses of vitamin D are required. If this is the case, the vitamin is administered by injection.