Shared Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis and Fibromyalgia

Shared Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis and Fibromyalgia

Anyone who is experiencing ongoing fatigue, muscle stiffness and pain may be wondering if they have fibromyalgia. A diagnosis of fibromyalgia isn’t easy to get due to the various other symptoms that are found in other similar ailments. Fibromyalgia may often be confused with other conditions such as osteoarthritis which is a degenerative joint disease responsible for causing intense joint pain as well as stiffness.

One of the most common types of arthritis is osteoarthritis. At present, millions of people are affected by it. It’s also known as degenerative joint disease. It affects the cartilage in the joints. Cartilage is used to help facilitate movement of a joint such as the knee or elbow. Without cartilage, the joint is impaired for motion. It is stiff and very painful. As people begin to age, it often degenerates and is sometimes referred to as the middle-aged plague because many who are entering middle age start to have issues with their joints.

Shared Symptoms Of  Osteoarthritis And Fibromyalgia

The two conditions of osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia are often confused as they share many of the same symptoms. It’s vital to recognize the subtle differences between the two conditions when diagnosing them to give an accurate diagnosis. If you have fibromyalgia, you’ll have widespread pain. Osteoarthritis tends to be more localized to a joint or a few different joints.

Unfortunately, it’s possible to have both conditions at the same time. Approximately ten to fifteen percent of those with osteoarthritis also have fibromyalgia.

Who Gets What Types of Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is classified per the area that it affects in a person’s body. It typical affects the joints. It’s interesting to note that the most commonly affected areas are the following:






Osteoarthritis can affect anyone. It can affect men and women and has no regard for age, gender or background. There are a few risk factors for osteoarthritis including:



Joint Trauma (broken ankle etc.)

Being over 65 years of age


One stunning fact regarding osteoarthritis is that over half of the population will eventually get it by the time they reach 65 years of age.

What Causes Osteoarthritis?

Typically, age is the cause of osteoarthritis. As we age, our joints have a lot of wear and tear on the tendons, cartilage and the joint itself. Water builds up in the cartilage and the proteins inside of the cartilage degenerates. Over the course of time, the cartilage is worn away inside the joints. Sometimes, it’s also caused by an illness like one of the following:

Trauma or injury to the joint




Repeated heavy lifting, as well as wear and tear on the joints, will eventually take their toll. Add to this injury, and you’ll have a familiar story from anyone who has the condition. Symptoms will vary from one person to another. It will also vary on which of the joints are affected.

Most people will have the following symptoms:

-Painful joints

-Loss in range of motion

-Pain that is worse in the latter part of the day

-Stiff joints after period of inactivity

-Swelling, redness and hot to the touch in the joints

While there is no cure for the condition of osteoarthritis, there are some steps that people can take to help improve their motion. These measures can slow down the progression of the condition. Treatments usually require several factors including:



-Pain medication


-Physical therapy

-Occupational therapy

-Weight control


Doctors will whip out a prescription pad and write up a pain reliever for patients. Exercise is vital and sometimes, just walking will do wonders, however, remember to avoid walking on cement flooring or concrete.


Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal condition after osteoarthritis. In spite of this, it’s often misdiagnosed and very misunderstood. It includes widespread pain in both the joints and the muscles. It also has fatigue and other symptoms that help it to stand out from other conditions. It may lead to being isolated as the person doesn’t get out as much anymore and they usually become very depressed as well.

It’s considered a syndrome which means that it has a set of symptoms. Together, they signal a particular condition and a greater chance of the condition. The following are typical symptoms of fibromyalgia:



-Tender areas

-Widespread pain

-Decreased pain threshold

-Fatigue that is incapacitating

Over 12 million Americans have fibromyalgia. Most of those are women between 25 and 60 years of age. Women are ten times more likely to have the condition.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia can cause a person to ache all over their body. They may be severely fatigued even after a full nights rest. They will have specific tender points of touch on their bodies. They may have to swell, and it may disturb their sleep quality. It may also disturb their moods.

It’s not uncommon for them to feel as if they’ve been overworked or stretched physically. They’ll feel this way regardless of whether or not they are exercising. Often, their muscles will burn and twitch, or they will have a deep stabbing pain. They will ache in their back, neck, hips and all of their joints. The pain and the aches will make it hard to do anything including hold down a job or sleep.

Some symptoms of fibromyalgia may also include:




-Irritable Bowel Syndrome

-Chronic headaches

-Abdominal pain

-Dry nose, mouth, and eyes

-Hypersensitivity to both heat and cold

-Numbness or tingling in feet and the fingers

Fibromyalgia may feel very similar to osteoarthritis as well as tendonitis, and bursitis. Both conditions have many similarities and are often misdiagnosed as one another. Treatments involve slightly different protocols. It’s very painful regardless of which pain condition one has, and there are things that will help to ease the person through their symptoms. Always seek out the advice of a doctor and ask questions so that you fully understand your condition. This will ensure that you’re receiving the proper care and treatment for your particular condition. If you’re unsure of a particular symptom, be sure to ask your healthcare provider regarding it as it may be another sign that will help to confirm your diagnosis.