Fibromyalgia is linked to many symptoms including joint pain, but can this symptom be the only presenting feature of this condition?
“It can present simply with joint pain, and but the way to distinguish it from arthritis is that it is both widespread, does not have red swollen joints, and is associated with insomnia,” explains Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, medical director of the Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers nationally, and author of “The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution.”
Symptom Specific Features
“The pain will tend to be more aching around the joints, and is actually coming from the tight muscles where they attach at the joints,” says Dr. Teitelbaum.
“In fact most people with fibromyalgia mistakenly think that they also have arthritis.”
If all you have is joint pain, and it comes and goes, this does not mean you have fibromyalgia or a degenerative form of arthritis.
You may have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia when, in fact, the cause of your joint pain is inflammatory bowel disease.
Have you been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or the much more benign microscopic colitis?
All three of these inflammatory bowel diseases can cause joint aches or what might be described as pain.
When digestive issues cause aching joints, this is called enteropathic arthralgia.
However, when a patient presents to their primary care doctor with complaints of joint pain, the doctor’s first thought isn’t going to be colitis.
A person with joint pain may have both an inflammatory bowel disease and fibromyalgia.
It may not be possible to determine which of the disorders is causing the discomfort in the joints.
Making the overall picture more vexing is that the cause of fibromyalgia joint pain — though speculated upon by many — is not truly known.
Dr. Teitelbaum is a board certified internist and nationally known expert in the fields of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, sleep and pain.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.