What Is the Connection Between Fibromyalgia and Neuropathy?

Article Details
  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 06 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article

Fibromyalgia and neuropathy each may cause common physical symptoms. Treatments for fibromyalgia as well as for neuropathy also tend to overlap in some cases. Despite the similarities featured by each, these conditions are completely separate things.

Neuropathy is a condition of the central nervous system. There are many different types of neuropathy, as well as different causes for this disorder, which often leads to debate over its definition in relationship to other diseases and conditions. For instance, individuals suffering from conditions such as diabetes, cancer and AIDS are also frequently plagued by nerve disorders. A few of the symptoms of neuropathy include numbness in the extremities, pain and tingling.

Likewise, fibromyalgia is also a condition of the central nervous system. It features chronic pain symptoms similar to those of neuropathy and a person affected with fibromyalgia may also experience nerve pain. It is shared symptoms, such as pain or tingling in the fingers and hands, which cause some to more closely associate the illnesses.

Fibromyalgia and neuropathy are also both chronic pain conditions that share some of the same treatment options. One example of such is that both conditions are sometimes treated with a specific medication called pregabalin, which interacts with the central nervous system to reduce the painful symptoms associated with both conditions. Health experts sometimes also recommend low-impact physical exercise for pain management for both conditions.

Ad

There are no known cures for fibromyalgia and neuropathy. Both conditions are chronic although often manageable over time. Each case is unique, but many with symptoms of both conditions do eventually find ways to manage pain in their daily lives. Doctors who specialize in the treatment of fibromyalgia, however, are also experienced in treating neuropathic conditions and vice versa.

A primary difference between fibromyalgia and neuropathy is that neuropathy is a clearly identifiable disease. Through testing, doctors find that the symptoms of neuropathy are measurable and can be traced to a distinct cause in the central nervous system. Fibromyalgia is a lot more difficult to diagnose, however. It is not uncommon for a patient suffering with fibromyalgia to report symptoms that cannot be traced to a common cause. Despite the neuropathic symptoms that accompany it, fibromyalgia is not widely considered to be a disease of the central nervous system since it cannot be traced to or defined by a single nerve problem.

Ad

Discuss this Article

anon959747
Post 4

I was diagnosed in 1969 with fibrositis (now called fibromyalgia) which was triggered by being hit by car at age 8 in 1949. For years as a child I was plagued with pain that no one would believe until 1969 when I was an adult and finally diagnosed by a team of doctors. Now I have fatigue and mild depression as well as severe foot and ankle neuropathy thought to be from diabetes. I take neurontin for neuropathy.

anon958049
Post 3

It is very sad that we have to suffer from fibromyalgia. I was told I had it in 2010. Since that time I was very lucky to find a doctor who cares, really cares. He does so much research on fibromyalgia. They are now finding that fibromyalgia is a type of neuropathy, but effects your entire body.

I took all of the drugs that they say "works" on fibromyalgia. Cymbalta I took for two years waiting for something to happen. Nothing did, and my doctor decided to stop that drug. I currently take pain medication, muscle relaxers and Xanax for anxiety. I believe that with the new information regarding neuropathy is going to get doctors from saying it is all in your head. It will also do away with those awful drugs we are given that have no proof that they work.

Stay strong. Women usually are. I find that swimming is extremely helpful, especially if you can find a therapy center with a pool that is heated to at least 90 degrees. That's the best way to exercise, at least for me.

anon330235
Post 1

About 15 years ago, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. From there I have had spinal problems that have developed into severe with bulged discs, degeneration and spinal spondylosis, a lumbar twisted deformation.

At the end of 2012, I was diagnosed with optical neuralgia. I sought a new physician who treats without steroid injections, and with local anesthetics and occasional spinal blocks!

I now find myself with a knot at the base of my neck. It is a deep muscle that will not release with stretching or rolling on tennis balls.

Since December, a tweak in the thoracic 1-2 all exacerbated the atrophy and knots deep in the muscular interior! I have to spend many hours per night trying to exercise the knots away.

My condition has become worse. My mental awareness and positivity wears thin as I took three years to learn the mindset that literally has saved my life! I cannot take lyrica or pregabalin. I have been taking cymbalta for three years now and depakote for vertigo and mood, magnesium and prescription strength Vitamin D, along with lecithin to help with memory and my nervous system.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email