Fibromyalgia and MS

Discussion in 'General Health & Wellness' started by shirley2925, Mar 30, 2004.

  1. shirley2925

    shirley2925 New Member

    Can someone tell me if Fibromyalgia and MS are related?
  2. Irish66

    Irish66 New Member

    I have both Fibromyalgia and MS, and have been talking to a lot of people about this. They are very similar, and my doctor actually told me that it can be very difficult to distinguish between the two. MS uses MRIs to see if there are lesions on the brain; Fibro has the pressure points. This is very basic; most of the time more tests are needed. I have been told by my neurologist that the two frequently go hand-in-hand. However, and both my MS and my Fibromyalgia doctor stressed this, just because you have one does not mean you will develop the other. Hope I answered your question.
  3. Marcie

    Marcie New Member

    Shirley 2925,

    Sorry I have no answers for you. Just questions. My doctor once prescribed a medication for me and when I had it filled I discovered it was for MS. I was pretty upset. I asked her next appointment "Do you think I have MS?" If so, why wouldn't you tell me> It's quite a shock to fill your prescription and find this out. Someone replied to you that the MS test looks for lesions on the brain. Is this the only test for M.S.? I guess it would be difficult to distinguish between the 2 at the onset of each disease.
    Take care!
  4. Irish66

    Irish66 New Member

    Someone asked if MRI/lesions on brain was only test for MS. No, there are several other tests I had to go through before I has a specific diagnosis. The two main ones were a spinal tap and tests called Evoked Potentials, or something like that, which measured the reactions of my nerves to stimuli. In MS, the myelin that protects nerve fibers is damaged. The myelin conducts the impulses from the brain, so those don't work properly. It was described to me as the nerves "short-circuting". One of the first symptoms for me was my one foot would drag. I couldn't lift it. The impulse from my brain that would lift it short-circuted. I then had inflamation of my optic nerve, which led to the MRI that showed the lesions. My neurologist would not make a specific diagnosis until he had the other tests done. As far as the fibromyalgia, I probably had it for years before I was diagnosed. My neurologist's attitude was "even if you have it, there's nothing that more that can be done. At the time, I was only taking Effexor and interferon shots. My regular doctor said I hurt because my muscles were tight (well, duh!) and told me to do stretching exercises. I finally, on my own, went to a rheumatologist in the area who not only believes in fibromyalgia, but goes to conferences and lectures about it. He did the pressure point test (I think I have almost all of them), and asked me a ton of questions. I don't know what I would have done without him. The pain had gotten so bad I could barely move. There is pain associated with both - sometimes I have problems figuring out if it's MS or Fibro flaring up, but I've developed a feel for it. I just wish I could find a doctor that could handle both. My two are always questioning the meds I'm taking; my neuro told me to be careful of the Zanaflex, for example. Without that, I couldn't get through the day sometimes. I'm also on Bextra, which is used for rheumatoid arthritis, and really seems to help with the pain.
    Anyway, if you think you might have MS, pester your doctor to send you to a neurologist who specializes in it. The earlier it's diagnosed, the better. Nothing cures it, but the shots I'm taking slow the progression of it.
    Sorry this is so long - it's the middle of the night here, I can't sleep, and the Fibro/MS relationship is one I've always been interested in.
  5. sunnywey

    sunnywey New Member

    I was positively diagnosed with fibromyalgia today by a rheumatologist/internist. My Dr. told me last July that he was sure I had it + I have waited til now to see this Dr. for a 2nd opinion.
    I developed MS in 1985, but had been in remission from 95- til this Xmas when we went to Mexico for 2 weeks. Both hands went very prickly pins + needles for 2 months! I went from snow to 90F + high humidity, which is very bad for MS.
    A couple of weeks ago I got a painful neuralgia in my left temple + took tegretol + now that is better.I hope that is the end of it! Some folks on here say they have had those symptoms too, so I'm now not sure if that was caused from my MS or fibromyalgia.I don't think my GP really knows either.What do you think, irish66??
  6. Irish66

    Irish66 New Member

    I have a very good friend who was dx'd with MS about the same time I was (in 1997). She's a nurse, and the two of us have had some really great conversations about a lot of the health issues with MS.

    When I was finally dx'd with fibro, she started doing a lot of reading about the similarities between the two. She's on disability because of her MS (she has the progressive type) and enjoys finding something like that to do.

    Anyway, she found that Fibro and MS frequently do go hand-in-hand. A lot of people dx'd with one will be dx'd with the other.

    It's very frustrating. When my hands get all numb and tingly is it from the MS or the Fibro? My MS doctor says MS, my Fibro dr says Fibro. I'm beginning to think they don't know, either!

    I have found one doctor in the area who will treat both MS and Fibro - can't get in to see him until June, but I can't wait.

    My family doctor did tell me that Fibro frustrates doctors a whole lot because there are so many symptoms, and they are different which each person. He said that's the same with other things, but with Fibro you can only treat the symptom. There isn't a magic pill they can give us so the symptoms will go away. With MS at least there are interferon drugs we can take to hopefully stop the progression of the disease.

    He said the main problem with Fibro is that it isn't a disease, per se, but a syndrome. I can't remember all that he explained then, but it made sense to me at the time.

    I missed a half day of work today because I was so dizzy - MS or Fibro? Unfortunately, my boss understands MS, so I think I do use it as an excuse more than I should.

    Well, that was a bunch of rambling nonsense! It's 6:30 am here and I've been awake since 3:30. Looks like another fun day at the office for me today!
  7. sunnywey

    sunnywey New Member

    They have decided I have benign MS. I don't have any obvious signs of MS after almost 20 yr. of symptoms coming + going.MRI scans + evoked potential tests both indicated that I did have MS, tho. I used to have the most incredible fatigue with it. I hope I never get that again.( touch wood)My current main symptoms now are definately fibro related. Sleep problems + incredible pain all over.
    This is interesting, + I enjoyed reading your reply irish66.
  8. Irish66

    Irish66 New Member


    I'm pretty sure I have Benign MS, too. I was dx'd in 1997, and have had no exacerbations (sp) since. Most of my problems now are fibro related.

    It's really nice to find someone else with the same problem! I've enjoyed reading all these posts.