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Arthritis or Fibromyalgia?

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I am at my wits end and would love to know what is causing this pain. It runs along the right side of my body and feels like the worst flu pain I have ever felt. I have been to my family Dr. (since the 1990s), 2 neurologists, a pain management Dr. and a rheumatologist. every test that i know of has been done and the only thing i have been told was that it is fibromyalgia. I am on cymbalta (since last jan.), lyrica (which is the only thing that seems to take the edge off the pain, but it makes me sleepy and i cant think straight when i take it) and now am taking an anti-inflamatory called salsalate, which has seemed to help. i have been taking it 2x a day for a couple months. but i had to cut back to once/day due to stomach problems. My family dr. keeps saying it is a migraine from stress and anxiety, but i have been told by others that it could not be migraine. i have bursitis in my right foot (diagnosed by podiatrist)fluid was drawn off the foot around 1999 and he wanted to remove (or grind off) the bone growths on that heel. i decided to just live with it and cut the back off my shoe.. at the time i couldn't afford the surgery. this all flares up, then goes away for awhile. recently it hurt so bad that i had to call someone to take me to the emergency room where the dr. prescribed ultram, which i do take sometimes when the pain is really bad. I don't know what triggers the flare ups. (i did suffer from migraines in the early 90's and took imitrex, but havent had a bad one in a long time) also, the rhematolgist prescribed ambien for my sleep because, apparently, some fibromyalgia sufferers do not go into stage 4 sleep which helps with repair of tissues. everything i have read about fibromyalgia says that it is all over the body. my pain and weakness is only in my right side. it is gradually getting worse and i am afraid that it will eventually get too bad for me to work. this already affects me alot in my work and at home taking care of my kids.
i almost forgot...i am adopted and have met my birthmother. they all suffer from arthritis which has not shown up on blood tests. birthgrandmother has knots all over her body and is in constant pain. i don't know any health history on my birthfather. why wouldn't arthritis show up on blood test? and why is my pain only on right side of body? lupus test was neg. also.


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replied October 23rd, 2006
Arthritis Answer A1671
Fibromyalgia is a disorder with an unknown cause, characterized by chronic muscle pain, fatigue, and tenderness. It is hard to establish its diagnosis because there are no specific laboratories or X-ray images that can confirm fibromyalgia. This disorder is diagnosed according to its clinical symptoms and by excluding all other possible diseases that may share the same symptoms.
Diseases that share the same symptoms with fibromyalgia can be confirmed or excluded with specific laboratory tests or X-ray imaging and include: rheumatic diseases (systemic lupus erithematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, polymyalgia rheumatica; degenerative diseases (osteoarthritis, osteoporosis) etc.
Fibromyalgia is often followed by fatigue, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, irritable bladder, cognitive and memory problems (often called “fibro fog”), TMJ-syndrome, pelvic pain, restless leg syndrome, sensitivity to noise and temperature, and anxiety and depression. All these conditions also have unknown causes and their severity varies over time, just like the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Stress and anxiety worsen the symptoms and that’s why anxiolitics and antidepressants (in addition to painkillers) are used for treatment.
You can consult an orthopedist for surgical removal of chronic bursitis on the right foot. Arthritis may “not show up in the blood tests” if you are actually experiencing arthralgia (pain in the joints like in fibromyalgia) that is not caused by inflammatio. the symptoms of rheumatic diseases are due to inflammation that can be confirmed with blood tests (increased sedimentation and elevated C-reactive protein). Structural damage of the joints and bones can also be confirmed with X-ray imaging to diagnose possible rheumatic conditions.

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