Fibromyalgia and Lupus

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition characterized by a broad set of symptoms. Many symptoms of Fibromyalgia overlap with other chronic conditions. One of the main overlapping conditions is the chronic, autoimmune disease known as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) or, more simply, referred to as Lupus. It is a common misconception that Fibromyalgia and lupus are part of the same condition-it’s not out of the ordinary to actually hear both conditions addressed as “Lupus Fibromyalgia.” Much of the confusion is the result of Fibromyalgia and lupus sharing simlar characteristics. For instance, Fibromyalgia and lupus occur almost exclusively in women. Roughly 85 to 90% of both Fibromyalgia and lupus cases involve women. In addition to this commonality, Fibromyalgia symptoms and lupus symptoms do have a great deal of overlap. As in Fibromyalgia, lupus has a very wide range of symptoms, so wide, that it is a rarity to find two lupus patients with exactly the same symptoms. Many of these symptoms include, but aren’t limited to:

  • joint pain
  • muscle aches
  • rash
  • sensitivity to light
  • fatigue
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon (numbness/coldness in hands and feet)
  • While many lupus symptoms overlap with the symptoms of Fibromyalgia, the difference between the two conditions lies in what CAUSES each condition. Lupus is an autoimmune disease where your body can’t tell the difference between foreign cells and your body’s natural cells and tissues. The resulting problem is widespread inflammation throughout your body, leading to the symptoms listed above. Exercise, acupuncture, and non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are often used to combat the joint and muscle pain symptoms. In more serious cases, corticosteroids are used to combat lupus inflammation, but may have serious side-effects.

    Fibromyalgia syndrome is a chronic pain condition resulting, in a great number of cases, from a biomechanical imbalance in the feet, leading to blocked energy fields throughout the body. It is these blocked energy fields that throw the body out of balance, causing a widespread and diverse set of symptoms that can flare up spontaneously at any moment. Thus, the focus on treating Fibromyalgia is in preventing and correcting an imbalance in the foot, while lupus is a matter of correcting the abnormality in the individuals immune system. Another difference between Fibromyalgia and lupus is that Fibromyalgia is not directly fatal. The pain in fibroymalgia is the result of the central nervous system being out of balance; while having the potential to cause excruciating pain, it does not cause any physical harm. Lupus, however, can cause complications that are directly linked to death. Improvements have been made in early detection of the condition which has reduced the number of fatalities. Still, studies show that roughly 1 in 5 lupus patients are permanently disabled by the consequences of the condition.

    Fibromyalgia and lupus are often two conditions misdiagnosed because of their overlapping symptoms. However, the cause of the conditions, and the subsequent treatments are oftentimes different. It’s important to note, while much is still unknown about each condition, the two are separate diseases that should not be tied together as one.


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