Osteoarthritis is the most common musculoskeletal condition, followed by fibromyalgia. More often than not, fibromyalgia is misunderstood and misdiagnosed. Characteristics of this disorder/condition include muscle and joint pain/tingling, fatigue, and many other symptoms. Quite often, individuals who have fibromyalgia also experience social isolation and depression. Many also experience both swelling and fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is very difficult to diagnose. The main reason for this is because the symptoms of fibromyalgia are often in line with the symptoms of other illnesses, which leads to the individual being misdiagnosed. One of the most basic symptoms of fibromyalgia is swelling and inflammation. Due to this fibromyalgia swelling, it can sometimes be confused with arthritis. This is due to the fact that both fibromyalgia and arthritis affect the joints.
Fibromyalgia and Arthritis Compared
Though fibromyalgia does exhibit many of the same symptoms of arthritis and the two conditions are often confused, there are some differences.
Individuals who have fibromyalgia typically experience more of a feeling that their joints are swelling rather than the joints actually swelling. Additionally, an individual who has fibromyalgia may actually experience what is known as a “creepy crawly” sensation on their bodies, which is very uncomfortable for them. Though it’s almost the same as with arthritis, the “swelling” of the joints that is part of fibromyalgia isn’t actually swelling at all, but a feeling of swelling.
Arthritis is actually swelling and damage within the joints. Individuals who are affected by arthritis can also be affected by fibromyalgia. The swelling that is caused by the fibromyalgia in this case is typically in the feet and hands.
This can be used to find out if the individual is suffering from fibromyalgia or arthritis. The swelling of the hands and feet in those suffering from fibromyalgia actually resembles edema, while the swelling in those suffering from arthritis is primarily located in the joints.
There is no specific cause of fibromyalgia. However, there are several risk factors that contribute to the occurrence of arthritis in individuals.
Genetic variations could possibly contribute to arthritis, though researchers don’t completely understand the role played by genetics in this disorder. Due to the fact that as individuals age, the cartilage becomes much more brittle and loses its capacity to repair itself.
Joint damage depends on the amount of weight that the joints must support, so body weight can cause an individual to develop arthritis. These factors and others can all contribute to arthritis, but don’t necessarily have anything to do with an individual developing fibromyalgia.
How to Control Fibromyalgia Swelling
One of the most important things to remember is that the swelling in individuals with fibromyalgia will never be located in the areas that are painful. The amount of swelling and fibromyalgia is actually directly related to the amount of stress that the affected individual is currently undergoing.
If the individual is under very minimum emotional stress, the swelling on their body will be barely noticeable. If the individual is under a lot of emotional stress, then the swelling will be obvious. Therefore, the amount of swelling on the individual’s body indicates their present emotional condition. This exacerbates swelling and fibromyalgia.
If you find that as a fibromyalgia patient, you are experiencing swelling and fibromyalgia, do what you can to calm down and relax. The more stressed out you get, the more you will begin to swell. The calmer you are, the more that swelling is going to go away.
Swelling is one of the most common symptoms that an individual with fibromyalgia will experience. Both swelling and inflammation are one of the first thing an individual will notice when there is a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. This is what makes it so difficult to diagnose- the swelling takes on the appearance of arthritis. The swelling can actually occur at any time and almost anywhere on your body. It can last a short time or a long time.
Understanding Swelling and Fibromyalgia
Many times, medical professionals will diagnose arthritis, when actually the swelling and inflammation is actually because of fibromyalgia. However, as mentioned earlier, there is a major difference between the two: arthritis affects the joints, while the swelling and inflammation due to fibromyalgia does not. Since the swelling in individuals with fibromyalgia is not in the joints, it can actually look more like edema. Most of the time, those who are experiencing this type of swelling also complain that the skin in those swollen areas turns red- but this is not always the case.
Though the fibromyalgia swelling can occur almost anywhere on the body, it is most commonly found in the feet and hands. Most of the time, those who report swelling in their feet often report that the swelling extends up toward their lower legs. Some individuals even report that their swelling is only on some of their toes.
Swelling related to fibromyalgia can disappear and appear without even a warning. It can last for a few hours, days, or weeks at a time. Sometimes, individuals will even report that their feet swell so large that they cannot wear their shoes. If you are experiencing this level of swelling, you must know that there are some things that you can do to counteract this.
As mentioned before, many people believe that inflammation and swelling related to fibromyalgia is directly linked to the level of stress in an individual’s life. So, if you have fibromyalgia and you’re suffering from swelling due to your disorder, you will want to do what you can to reduce- or even totally avoid- stress in your personal life. Additionally, getting lots of rest may prove to help reduce or prevent swelling.
Though swelling and fibromyalgia is very common for those suffering from the disorder, it is not the same inflammation and swelling that is present with arthritis. Additionally, though there really isn’t a specific cause or cure that can be pointed to, researchers do hold hope that a few simple changes in lifestyle can help to control it. By simply making sure to get lots of rest and relaxation, and eliminating as much stress as possible from your life, you can make sure that the swelling and inflammation doesn’t keep occurring.