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Posts Tagged ‘Chronic pain fibromyalgia’

9 Conditions that Mimic Fibromyalgia and Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

 

 

Chronic pain symptoms may indicate fibromyalgia, or one of many other illnesses like pernicious anemia from vitamin B12 deficiency.  If you constantly feel tired, bloated, nauseous, itchy, and wracked with crushing pain, you might be suffering from chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, B12 deficiency, or all of the above…

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia, or fibromyositis, is a condition that causes the sufferer indescribable pain and fatigue for no apparent reason. Doctors are unsure as to the exact cause of fibromyalgia, which is classified as an autoimmune disorder involving the brain’s overreaction to pain stimuli.

Symptoms of fibromyalgia include:

  • Persistent muscular pain in at least 11 of 18 specific “pain points” on the body, including the neck and shoulders
  • Pain described as stiffness, burning, throbbing
  • Pain spreads from one tender spot to another
  • Sleep problems caused by pain and restless legs syndrome
  • Depression
  • Gastrointestinal woes, like stomach pain, nausea, flatulence, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diarrhea, and constipation
  • Bladder incontinence
  • Dizziness
  • Cognitive difficulties, “brain fog,” trouble concentrating
  • Headaches
  • Painful tingling sensations (“pins and needles”) and numbness in hands, feet, and ankles

Also read: How to Tell if Chronic Pain is Fibromyalgia: 18 Pressure Points

10 CONDITIONS THAT MIMIC FIBROMYALGIA, VITAMIN B12 DEFICIENCY IS ONE, B12 PATCH

Pernicious anemia- Vitamin B12 deficiency

Pernicious anemia is an autoimmune disorder that prevents your body from producing intrinsic factor, a protein the body needs for vitamin B12 absorption.  As a result, pernicious anemia patients often have dangerously low levels of vitamin B12- a nutrient involved in producing red blood cells, protecting the nervous system, lowering homocysteine levels, maintaining healthy cognitive skills, and establishing DNA synthesis.  Vitamin B12 deficiency often overlaps with fibromyalgia, as gastrointestinal issues often inhibit vitamin B12 absorption.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Depression
  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • “Brain fog”
  • Anxiety
  • Aggressiveness
  • Hallucinations
  • Sleep problems
  • Shortness of breath
  • Painful tingling and numbness in hands, feet, and ankles
  • Sore tongue that is red and swollen
  • Burning sensation in mouth and tongue
  • Altered sense of taste
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent clumsiness
  • Difficulty walking without stumbling
  • Difficulty balancing on one leg

Also read: 

10 CONDITIONS THAT MIMIC FIBROMYALGIA, VITAMIN B12 DEFICIENCY IS ONE, B12 PATCH

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)

Chronic fatigue syndrome shares comorbidity with fibromyalgia. Like fibromyalgia, the cause for CFS is still unexplained.  Patients complaining of chronic fatigue receive diagnosis based on their symptoms.

Symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome include:

  • Persistent tiredness that is not caused by physical exertion, loss of sleep, or mental exhaustion
  • Waking up fatigued, despite sleeping the whole night
  • Pain in tender spots similar to the pain zones suffered by fibromyalgia patients, only less severe

Also read: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia- Is there a Difference?

Myofascial pain syndrome

Myofascial pain is similar to fibromyalgia.  While fibromyalgia patients experience soreness in “pain points,” sufferers of myofascial pain syndrome experience pain in “trigger points.”  Also unlike fibromyalgia symptoms, myofascial pain does not spread from one point to another.

Symptoms of myofascial pain syndrome include:

  • Small pain points that occur in tense muscles
  • Trigger points that produce a muscular twitch when stimulated
  • Pain points are tiny lumps about the size of your pinky’s fingernail.

Chronic headaches

Fibromyalgia sufferers often experience chronic headaches such as migraines, tension headaches, daily persistent headaches, or hemicrania continua.  Scientists speculate that migraines happen in the same part of the brain as fibromyalgia triggers.

Symptoms of migraine headaches include:

  • Throbbing head pain, typically on one side of the head
  • Eye pain
  • Migraine aura- visual disturbances, vertigo, hallucinations, speech slurring, loss of consciousness, or temporary paralysis
  • Increased sensitivity to lights, sounds, and scents
  • Nausea
  • Uncontrolled vomiting
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness

Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS)

Exposure to chemicals may cause symptoms that mimic fibromyalgia, although researchers are uncertain if MCS is a physical response or a psychological reaction.

Symptoms of multiple chemical sensitivity include:

  • Significantly lower threshold for chemical tolerance than normal
  • Pain reaction consistent with various unrelated chemicals
  • Sensitivity occurs in more than one organ of the body
  • Chronic pain reaction that occurs repeatedly from exposure to certain chemicals
  • Removing the chemical trigger ends pain symptoms

Depression

Most fibromyalgia patients have experienced clinical depression in the past, and a substantial (but lower) percentage suffers from chronic depression. Depression is also a common symptom of vitamin B12 deficiency.  If depression stems from fibromyalgia pain, then it does not classify as major depression, but rather a secondary condition of fibromyalgia chronic pain syndrome.

Symptoms of major depression include:

  • Spells of sadness that last for months
  • Daily depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep problems like oversleeping or not sleeping enough
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of low value or guilt
  • Weight problems, either excessive weight gain or weight loss
  • Contemplations of suicide

Also read: Vitamin Deficiencies can drive you Crazy- Seriously!  Part 1

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s disease) is sometimes confused with fatigue associated with fibromyalgia or vitamin B12 deficiency anemia.  As opposed to hyperthyroid disorder, where the thyroid gland produces too many hormones, hypothyroid disorder involves underproduction of hormones in the thyroid gland.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • Joint or muscle pain that hurts “all over”
  • Cold hypersensitivity
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain
  • Altered sense of taste
  • Dry thick skin patches

Also read: Low B12 means Low Thyroid- Hypothyroidism and B12 Deficiency

Lupus

Autoimmune disease symptoms like lupus may occur at the same time as fibromyalgia or B12 deficiency, making it harder to diagnose. Conversely, patients with lupus often don’t realize that their vitamin B12 levels have dropped to a dangerous low until they start to suffer severe nerve damage.

Symptoms of lupus include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Skin lesions
  • Joint pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headaches
  • Memory loss
  • “brain fog”
  • Confusion
  • Dry eyes

Also read: Lupus and Vitamin B12 Deficiency- What’s the Connection?

Lyme disease

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by ticks.  Because of delayed symptoms mimicking fibromyalgia, about 15-50% of fibromyalgia patients receives a misdiagnosis of Lyme disease, and is instructed to take strong antibiotics. A blood test sometimes excludes Lyme disease, but not always.

Symptoms of Lyme disease include:

  • Itching all over the body
  • Chills and fever
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Muscular pain
  • Stiff neck
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Partial paralysis
  • Speech problems

Restless Legs Syndrome

A significant amount of fibromyalgia sufferers and pernicious anemia patients also experience restless legs syndrome at night. However, other causes of restless legs syndrome are kidney disorder, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, or drugs.

Symptoms of restless legs syndrome include:

  • Uneasy feeling in lower leg
  • Creeping, crawling sensations
  • Intense need to shake leg in order to ease symptoms
  • Achiness that disappears with exercise

Read more about diseases that mimic fibromyalgia and vitamin B12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Movement Disorders- How They Relate

Sore Burning Tongue, Dry Mouth, and Weird Tastes- What’s the Cause?

Type 2 Diabetes and Vitamin B12 Deficiency- Are you at Risk?

Sources:

Fibromyalgia- University of Maryland Medical Center

Mayo Clinic

PubMed Health

Images, from top:

jcantrootKindreds Page, aussiegall

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia- Is there a Difference?

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

 

 

What’s the difference between fibromyalgia (FM) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)? Health experts often differ in diagnosing fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue symptoms, as they tend to overlap.  Judge for yourself- here are some facts on symptoms of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME AND FIBROMYALGIA- IS THERE A DIFFERENCE? WWW.B12PATCH.COM

What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a condition that causes pain, tiredness, and stomach upset in its sufferers.  FM is somewhat of a medical phenomenon, as scientists are still unsure exactly what causes fibromyalgia.  Theories abound, and researchers continue to conduct studies on possible causes of fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia symptoms:

The most prevalent symptom of fibromyalgia is chronic pain: About 70% – 80% of fibromyalgia patients suffer severe muscular soreness.  Pain occurs mostly along the spine, the shoulders, hips, and neck, but can also happen in other parts of the body.  FM sufferers may also experience joint stiffness similar to arthritis pain.

  • Other common symptoms of fibromyalgia are gastrointestinal disorders (diarrhea), severe fatigue, sleep difficulties, and “brain fog” (concentration problems).
  • According to the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention, approximately five million US citizens suffer from fibromyalgia.
  • In order to diagnose fibromyalgia, a doctor must confirm eleven out of eighteen fibromyalgia “tender points” in his patient.
  • More women than men suffer from fibromyalgia.

CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME AND FIBROMYALGIA- IS THERE A DIFFERENCE? WWW.B12PATCH.COM

Fibromyalgia FAQs- 6 Need-to-Know Fibro Facts

Why am I always tired?

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) goes by a few other names: immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS) and myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).  CFS is another “invisible disease” that affects the body and the mind.  Like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome is also an illness for which scientists are still attempting to determine the cause.  The leading theory is that CFS is an autoimmune disorder of the central nervous system.

Boost Energy Now! 20 Practical Tips for Fighting Fatigue

What are the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome?

While fibromyalgia symptoms center on pain, CFS symptoms are primarily related to extreme unending tiredness.  Symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome include:

  • CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME AND FIBROMYALGIA- IS THERE A DIFFERENCE? WWW.B12PATCH.COMbeing tired all the time, despite getting plenty of sleep, eating well, and generally taking good care of yourself,
  • complete exhaustion after low-impact exercise, examinations, or long periods requiring mental focus, followed by a recuperation period,
  • poor short-term memory,
  • brain fog,
  • waking up fatigued, and never feeling fully rested,
  • flu-like aches and pain,
  • headache,
  • sore throat,
  • poor reading comprehension,
  • difficulty grasping appropriate words while communicating,
  • anxiety

What’s the difference between CFS and FM?

The fact that symptoms of chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia so often overlap makes it difficult for doctors to diagnose, and confusing for patients to understand.  Here are some basic similarities and distinguishing facts of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome:

  • Not all people who have chronic fatigue syndrome also suffer from chronic pain symptoms such as those with fibromyalgia.  However, most fibromyalgia patients live with extreme, persistent fatigue every day- approximately 50% – 70%, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
  • About one million people have chronic fatigue syndrome, compared with five million fibromyalgia sufferers.
  • While some physicians believe that fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are two separate conditions that often overlap in one patient, others believe that chronic fatigue is one of many symptoms of fibromyalgia syndrome, and not a disorder in its own right.
  • Stress and physical exertion are both common triggers of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms.

Chronic Depression, Chronic Pain- It’s All the Same, say Experts

Vitamin B12 deficiency in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue

Other illnesses share similar symptoms with FM and CFS, causing yet more confusion in diagnosis and treatment.  Additionally, other conditions like pernicious anemia may occur at the same time as CFS, and may go undetected as a result.

  • A high correlation exists between vitamin B12 deficiency and fibromyalgia.  Any condition that causes gastrointestinal problems will likely also result in poor digestion of vitamin B12.  Untreated, B12 deficiency can escalate into severe nerve damage.
  • Symptoms of B12 deficiency may include nerve pain (tingling, pins and needles) in the hands and feet, numbness in the hands and feet, decreased energy, loss of mental focus, fatigue, depression, anxiety, sore tongue, altered sense of taste, short-term memory loss, clumsiness, and difficulty walking, running or jumping without stumbling.
  • Other disorders and illnesses linked with vitamin B12 deficiency are inflammatory bowel disease (IBD- Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), lupus, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, celiac disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes.
  • Because vitamin B12 deficiency shares so many symptoms with chronic fatigue syndrome, it might go untreated.  For that reason, it is advisable for people suffering from CFS or FM to get their vitamin B12 blood levels checked routinely.

Read more about fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome:

Back Pain Exercises and Fibromyalgia- the Do’s and Don’ts

40 Things NOT to say to a Fibromyalgia-Chronic Fatigue Sufferer

7 Reasons You Have Brain Fog…And What to do About It

Sources:

The Fibro Fact Page: Basic Brief Information about Fibromyalgia

The Common Threads of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – Fibromyalgia Center- Everyday Health

What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

The CFIDS Association of America

Image credits:

Stuart Miles

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