What medical conditions mimic fibromyalgia?

A Answers (2)

  • ACeleste Cooper, Rheumatology, answered

    The primary symptoms of fibromyalgia are body-wide pain, non-restorative sleep (fatigue), and cognitive deficit. These symptoms can be present in other painful conditions.  Because of this, many experts still believe a thorough physical exam is necessary. Even though the tender point assessment has been challenged because not all patients have the exact same tender point pattern, all fibromyalgia patients complain of tenderness in all four quadrants of the body.


    Fibromyalgia shares an important component with other chronic pain disorders called centralization or hypersensitivity, which may be due to the bombardment of pain signals on the brain. What sets fibromyalgia apart is that it also has symptoms that suggest a connection with certain comorbid disorders such as, migraine, restless leg syndrome, myofascial pain syndrome, teeth grinding, bladder and bowel difficulties, etc. While these other conditions should be investigated, ruling them in does not rule out fibromyalgia, it may be a determining factor.

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  • ADawn Marcus, Neurology, answered
    Fibromyalgia symptoms are nonspecific. This means that many of the symptoms seen with fibromyalgia are also present in other medical conditions. Your doctor really can't tell you that you have fibromyalgia until he has made certain that you don't have other health issues which mimic fibromyalgia. These are:
    • Bone and joint diseases: ankylosing spondylitis, osteoarthritis, osteomalacia, polymyalgia rheumatic, rheumatoid arthritis
    • Autoimmune disorders: Sjogren's syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus
    • Infections: chronic hepatitis C, tuberculosis
    • Hormone Disorders: diabetes, thyroid disease, parathyroid disease
    • Cancer: multiple myeloma, metastatic cancer
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