Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Pain Syndrome: Are you misdiagnosed?

I am always getting questions about this. Some people know what fibromyalgia is, but not myofascial pain syndrome, so a lot of times, I tell people fibromyalgia is the closest thing to it. Some people who don't know any better mistake myofascial pain syndrome for fibromyalgia. I want to lay this out, so it's clear for everyone in the most basic way I can.



FIbromyalgia (FMS) and Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS) often go together. Because of the frequent overlap and some similar symptoms, they're often mistaken for the same condition and, as a result, people with both are sometimes only diagnosed with and treated for one. MPS can also evolve to FMS.  However, not everyone with MPS develops FMS. From what I've heard and read, early treatment of MPS may help prevent FMS (which is something you'd really want to avoid.) However, many symptoms do overlap.

The distinction between MPS and FMS is crucial for THREE main reasons:
1) They require different treatment.
2) You can eliminate trigger points.
3) MPS pain can exacerbate FMS, and treating MPS can calm FMS.

What a lot of people don't realize is that fibromyalgia has 18 very specific points to be diagnosed. I, personally, (only diagnosed with MPS), have only had pain in my neck, back and sometimes thighs. I've never felt any pain in my knees, elbows or chest. Any other pain that I've had with the base of my skull and hips have been caused by noticeable trigger points and most of that pain is gone now (thanks to trigger point injections). Here's a nice little diagram of the basic points for FMS.

FMS 18 points 
It is also important to take note the difference between tender points and trigger points. So basically, the muscle have generalized sensitivity with FMS, while with MPS, the muscle areas that are located away from the trigger points and their referral regions have normal sensitivity. With FMS, there is total body achiness, while with MPS, there are specific pains in specific areas. With MPS, the areas not affected by trigger points don't hurt, but with FMS, the areas outside the tender points still ache. FMS is a neuroendocrine disorder while MPS is a neuromuscular condition.

For the old people reading, you can click this to make it bigger. 
I guess if I'd have to choose, FMS probably sucks a little more. It's harder to treat and technically more chronic. Some people figure it out. (I have a friend who works out as much as she can and does acupuncture and it's managed. But, acupuncture didn't do a damn thing for me.) Unfortunately, a lot of people can't find a solution. MPS is still a nightmare (to me and a lot of other people, anyway) but there are physical points that can be treated and the outcome for people MPS is a little less bleak than for people with FMS.

To understand a little more about MPS, click on "My Diagnoses Dissected" tab.

Helpful links/links for reference: 
http://www.fmcpaware.org/m-n/myofascial-pain-syndrome
http://chronicfatigue.about.com/od/whyfmscfsarelinked/a/myofascialpain.htm
http://www.healingwell.com/library/fibro/webber3.asp
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/overcoming-pain/200901/myofascial-pain-syndrome-vs-fibromyalgia

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