Fibromyalgia and arthritis are often confused with one another. Often, fibromyalgia pain is believed to be a cause of rheumatoid arthritis. This is partially true. Some researches show that while rheumatoid arthritis can cause fibromyalgia in the body, both types of pain sprout from a completely different source.
What are the main symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis affects the small joints in the hands and feet and can cause pain and swelling in the affected area. It causes:
- Fever and fatigue in the whole body
- Joint pain in the hands and feet
- Bone erosion and joint deformity (if the disease is left untreated)
- Complications such as organ malfunction (if the tissues are starting to get damaged, they can cause organ damage)
- Sensitivity in the affected areas
- Immobility or partial dependency
- Inability to move without aid
What are the main symptoms of fibromyalgia?
It is important to note that fibromyalgia is not caused by any inflammation to the tissue or swollen joints. It is a condition that affects the whole body without any possible cause. The main symptoms of fibromyalgia are:
- Pain in the whole body
- Intense fatigue
- Muscle pain and muscle cramps
- Inability to move through the day
- Memory and concentration problems
- Sleep disorders
- Tender points’ pain
Common points between rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia:
- Both affect women more than men
- Both cause chronic widespread pain in the body
- They both are long lasting and are not easily treatable
- Both need to be treated quickly or the symptoms tend to get worse
Treatments that work for both arthritis and fibromyalgia
Exercising techniques: Gentle to moderate exercise such as walking, cycling, swimming, etc. help to alleviate fibromyalgia and arthritis symptoms. Exercise also helps to relieve the muscle pain and release muscle tension.
Protecting joints from wear and tear: Since fibromyalgia and arthritis both cause pain in the muscles and joints, it is important to avoid lifting heavy objects and applying pressure on the joints.
Taking breaks: If your pain escalates to intense pain, it is important to take lots of rest. Lying or sitting in one position can heighten the pain sensations. Therefore, it is imperative to shift your position periodically when performing repetitive or challenging tasks.
Taking warm baths: Research has proved that warm moist baths tend to provide ample relief in both fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. Applying moist heating pads also tend to produce a soothing effect on the aching muscles and body.
Planning each day well: Managing and planning each day properly can help to cope with fibromyalgia and arthritis well. Start each day with a simple chore. Since both fibro and arthritis flare ups are unpredictable, going slowly and steadily with each task is the best way to ensure that your activities do not need to be ended midway.