Ms verses FM Some Questions

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by lassiecass, Jun 7, 2003.

  1. lassiecass

    lassiecass New Member

    Hello Everyone,
    I have a question or two for those who know anything about MS. My Sister-in-law has MS and seems to be doing so much better than I am. I have FM and have trouble keeping up with her. I work and try to run house and have my grandbaby as much as possible, maybe 3 or 4 times a week. She doesn't work outside the home but is planning a wedding and keeps a spotless house and runs all over the place shopping etc. She is doing so much better than I am thank god but I really feel quilty when I tell her I am in to much pain to do our excercise program. We workout at Curves 3 times a week and then I am off to work. She has leg weakness and light fatigue but I have same symptoms and a much greater amount of fatigue and pain every day. She doesn't have pain. I can't figure out way I can't do as well as her because everyone says her illness is alot more serious than FM. Any answers out there? Thank you for listening to my ramblings.
    Soft Hugs,
    Sandy (Cass)
  2. allhart

    allhart New Member

    i have been threw this myself,my ex mil has ms and it seems sometimes she is doing much better then i am
    they say the main deffrence is that they can become permently disabled or die and us with fm will not,
    but as everything there are diffrent degrees of any disorders ,
    just because she has ms dosent mean she is worse off then you right now ,compare the symtoms they are very closly related,
  3. mightymouth

    mightymouth New Member

    this is not a complete web address it ends with .htm
    how do you pass on this sort of info?
    are email address' allowed?
  4. Princessraye

    Princessraye New Member

    I know someone who has had a mild case of MS for 20 years. I would never have known if her brother had not told me.
    Some people are not affected as severely as others wether they have MS, Fibro, or what ever.
  5. mightymouth

    mightymouth New Member

    Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia and Lupus -
    How Do You Know Which One You Have?
    By Laurie Long

    Many people who are eventually diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) often spend years misdiagnosed with other diseases and conditions. (We have concentrated on 3 main ones, although there are also other conditions with similar symptoms.) Even worse, some patients who present doctors with a bewildering variety of complaints may be written off as having psychosomatic symptoms – basically being told that it’s “all in your head”! So how do you avoid this problem? How do you find out what is really going on with you? The initial answers to these questions are:

    Research each disease and cross-reference listed symptoms against your own.

    Write a complete symptom history for your doctor or neurologist. Too often, doctors are only told about symptoms that are occurring right now, and only getting part of the picture.

    To help you accomplish this, we’ll give you a brief description of MS, Fibromyalgia and Lupus, their symptoms, and tests for each. We’ll also provide you with questionnaires to help you document your own symptoms that will give you and your doctor a head start on a solid diagnosis.

    ~ What Is It? ~

    Multiple Sclerosis
    MS is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (CNS). The nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, which make up the CNS, are connected to each other by long fibers called axons which are covered with a protective myelin sheath. The body’s own immune system attacks the myelin sheaths and axons, causing inflammation and scarring (thus multiple sclerosis – multiple scars). When enough axons and nerves are damaged, the messages carried by the nervous system are disrupted, causing the symptoms of MS. The symptoms of any one individual with MS are dependent on what areas of the CNS have been damaged. For this reason, symptoms differ from one person to another, and can be temporary, recurring or permanent. Symptoms also come and go depending on whether a person is having an exacerbation (attack) or a remission.

    Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is characterized by widespread pain and fatigue. Fibromyalgia means pain in the muscles, ligaments and tendons – the fibrous tissues in the body. There is also a substantial symptom overlap between fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Some experts even believe that fibromyalgia syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome are one and the same. If you can remember what it felt like the last time you had the flu – exhaustion, every muscle feeling pulled and overworked, hypersensitive skin, etc. – then you have an idea of what fibromyalgia entails. As with MS however, FMS presents a wide range of symptoms which can wax and wane, and can differ from person to person.

    Lupus is a widespread and chronic autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the body’s own tissue and organs, including the joints, kidneys, heart, lungs, brain, blood or skin. In lupus the immune system, for unknown reasons, loses the ability to tell the difference between foreign cells and the body’s own cells and tissue. Once this happens, the antibodies attack different areas of the body. Symptoms can range from mild to life-threatening and can vary greatly from person to person. Approximately one third of patients with lupus also develop fibromyalgia. Lupus can also have periods of flares (attacks) and remission.

    ~ Who Gets It? ~

    Who Gets Multiple Sclerosis?
    Multiple sclerosis usually affects people between the ages of 20-50 with most people experiencing their first symptoms in their 20’s or 30’s. There are higher numbers of cases in certain northern latitudes, including Washington. Approximately two thirds more women than men have MS, and more Caucasian people are affected than other ethnic populations. Studies indicate that genetic factors may make certain individuals more susceptible to MS, but no evidence exists that it is directly inherited.

    Who Gets Fibromyalgia?
    Approximately 20 out of every 1000 people get this condition. Over 85% of these are women. Viral or bacterial infections, automobile accidents, or development of another disorder, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or hyperthyroidism can bring about the onset of fibromyalgia. There is a genetic component to this disease and a genetic predisposition, combined with a triggering event, may cause disease onset.

    Who Gets Lupus?
    Lupus develops most often between the ages of 15 and 44. It occurs 10-15 times more frequently among adult females than adult males. It is also 2-3 times more common among African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and Native Americans*. 10% of people with lupus have a parent or sibling with lupus and 5% of children born to someone with lupus will develop the disease. Both genetic predisposition and environmental factors play a role in triggering the disease. Triggering factors include infections, antibiotics, ultraviolet light, extreme stress, and hormones. Hormonal factors may explain why lupus occurs more frequently in women than men. (*Statistics taken from Lupus Foundation of America).

    ~ What are the Symptoms? ~

    Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis include, but are not limited to:

    Blurred or double vision

    Bladder or bowel problems

    Coordination and balance difficulties

    Muscle spasticity, or stiffness



    Slowing or slurring of speech

    Memory problems

    Depression and/or mood swings

    Heat sensitivity

    Overwhelming or unusual fatigue

    Diminished sexual sensation

    Numbness and/or tingling sensations

    Confusion, difficulty focusing, organizing or planning

    Weakness in the arms or legs

    Symptoms of fibromyalgia include, but are not limited to:

    Pain – muscular aching, burning throbbing, shooting, stabbing pain

    Irritable Bladder Syndrome

    Stiffness & pain – especially in morning

    Dysmenorrhea (painful menstrual periods)

    Overwhelming or unusual fatigue

    Cognitive or memory problems

    Sleep disorder

    Cold sensitivity (Raynaud’s phenomenon)


    Numbness and/or tingling sensations

    Irritable Bowel Syndrome

    Impaired coordination

    Chronic headaches


    Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome (TMJD) - face & jaw pain

    Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome – odors, noise, bright lights, medications, various foods, etc.

    Muscle twitching

    Dry eyes and mouth

    Symptoms of lupus include, but are not limited to:

    Achy joints


    Fevers (over 100F)

    Hair loss


    Abnormal blood clotting problems

    Overwhelming or unusual fatigue

    Cold sensitivity (Raynaud’s phenomenon)

    Skin rashes



    Mouth or nose ulcers

    Kidney involvement


    Pleurisy (pain in chest while breathing)

    Cognitive dysfunction

    GI problems


    ~ For the Symptom Cross-Reference Chart, go to the end of this article ~

    ~ How Do You Test For It? ~

    Testing for Multiple Sclerosis
    For a clear diagnosis of MS, the doctor has to find evidence that multiple distinct parts of the central nervous system are affected. The neurologist will first take the patient's medical history of what the symptoms are; when the first symptoms occurred, how long they lasted, whether they cause any pain, and a variety of other physical health questions. Then the doctor will conduct a physical and neurological examination to determine the particular problems.

    Once these tests are performed, the neurologist may order an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Image). MRIs look for plaques, or lesions, in the brain and spine. A gadolinium-enhanced MRI reviewed by an MS specialist neurologist will provide your best chance at accurate diagnosis via this method.

    While MRIs are the most useful testing device doctors have for finding MS, they do not uncover every case of MS. At least 10% require further testing and a complete symptom history to facilitate diagnosis. Many times evoked potential tests (EP) are used to measure the impulses along neural pathways running throughout the body that may be damaged. In addition, a lumbar puncture (LP) may be done to look for abnormalities in the Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF) and blood tests may be ordered to exclude other diseases that mimic MS symptoms. With all this information gathered during the examination and testing, a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis can usually be determined.

    Testing for Fibromyalgia
    Because fibromyalgia is not considered a disease but rather a clinical invention to describe a chronic pain syndrome, there are no blood tests or x-rays which reliably diagnose Fibromyalgia. In order to diagnose Fibromyalgia, a physician must take a careful history and perform an examination which focuses on specific local areas of tenderness. These locations are called tender points. There are 18 specified tender points, and the patient must have a finding of pain (not just tenderness) in at least 11 of the 18 points, together with a history of widespread pain in all 4 quadrants of the body for 3 months or more. The doctor will also look at symptom history to determine whether the symptoms reported match the symptoms for FMS.

    Testing for Lupus
    To help distinguish Lupus from other diseases, the American Rheumatism Association established a list of 11 abnormalities which help distinguish lupus from other diseases. To make a diagnosis of Lupus the patient must have had at least 4 of these, though they do not all have to occur at the same time.

    Malar rash (rash over the cheeks) or Discoid rash (raised red patches)

    Photosensitivity (reaction to sunlight – rash)

    Oral Ulcers (sores in nose or mouth)

    Arthritis (pain in joints)

    Serositis (inflammation of organ tissue and abdominal pain)

    Pleuritis (inflammation of lining of lung) or Pericarditis (inflammation of lining of the heart)

    Renal disorder (excessive protein or cells in urine)

    Neurological disorder (seizures or psychosis)

    Hematological disorder (low red blood count, low white blood count, low lymphocyte count, low platelet count)

    Immunologic disorder (positive LE cell, anti-DNA or anti-SM antibodies tests or positive syphilis (VDRL) test)

    Anti-Nuclear Antibodies (positive ANA test)

    In addition to these tests your doctor will take a complete symptom history, so having a list of your symptoms, when they started, and how long they have been manifesting, is an important first step.

    ~ Summary ~

    Whether you have multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, lupus, or some other immunological, or neurological disease or syndrome, your chance at getting a quick and accurate diagnosis is immensely greater if you inform yourself about the various diseases, and if you create or keep an accurate accounting of all your symptoms.

    You can access our questionnaires at: (SORRY)Our questionnaires are specifically designed for people with MS, but they can also be used to help establish many symptoms of other neurological and immunological diseases. They provide a springboard for your research into your own symptoms – to help you and your doctor to the diagnosis that will tell you what you really have.

    This article is a compilation of information from many different MS, fibromyalgia, and lupus sites and articles. We have listed these sites below as a starting point for further research, as well as a bibliography of our source material, and a symptom cross-reference chart.

    ~ Symptom Cross-Reference Chart ~


    Paresthesias & Dyesthesias
    (pins & needles, tingling, shivering, burning pains, aching, pressure, areas of skin with heightened sensitivity)

    (deep muscular aching, burning, throbbing, shooting, stabbing pains – worse in morning, restless leg syndrome)

    Spasticity (muscle spasms or stiffness)
    (muscle spasms or stiffness)
    (stiffness, achy joints –95%)

    Weakness in arms or legs

    Coordination or balance difficulties



    Trigeminal Neuralgia (sharp facial pain brought on by chewing or touch)
    (Stabbing, shock-like pain)

    TMJD (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction)

    (25% - tremendous face, head and jaw pain. 90% - some symptoms of TMJD)

    Optic Neuritis (blind spot(s), pain around eye,)

    Headaches (chronic, migraine, tension)
    (not common)


    Fatigue (excessive or chronic fatigue)


    Sleep disorders (poor sleep, disturbed sleep, can’t fall asleep)
    (can’t fall asleep)
    (alpha EEG anomaly – disturbed sleep)

    Irritable Bowel Syndrome


    Irritable Bladder Syndrome


    Premenstrual Tension Syndrome

    Cold Intolerance (including Raynaud’s Syndrome)


    Heat Intolerance

    Cognitive or Memory Impairment

    Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome (sensitivity to odors, light, noise, medications, and some foods)


    Frequent Fevers


    Skin Rashes




    Involvement of major organs (heart, brain, lungs, blood, kidneys, etc.)




    Hair Loss


    Mouth/Nose ulcers


    the chart did not copy right...sorry about that

  6. kmelodyg

    kmelodyg New Member

    That was an interesting site, I bookmarked it. I seem to have symptoms for both FMS and MS. I have severe tremors, which have not been explained at all yet. And I don't know how many FMS people get that. My mother has both FMS and MS, so I guess there is a chance that I could have it. It's kind of scary...

  7. dhcpolwnk

    dhcpolwnk New Member

    I have both MS and fibromyalgia (MS diagnosed in 1978, fibro diagnosed last August), but I can't tell you which is worse. That depends at least in part on whether a person has a severe, mild or moderate case of each of these conditions.

    I've been pretty lucky. My MS symptoms are worse than some, better than others. On any given day, whichever condition happens to be bothering me most seems like the worst one! Lately, I've been dealing with rotator cuff tendinitis, which may or may not be linked to fibro. Sometimes that seems worse than either of the other two, although that's supposed to be just a temporary condition!

    Trying to figure out whether MS or fibromyalgia is worse is a no-win game. It's impossible to compare your suffering with that of somebody else, because you can only experience your own pain (or physical limitations), not somebody else's. Similarly, others can only experience *their* pain or limitations, not yours.

    So I urge you *not* to beat yourself up comparing yourself to your sister-in-law. That road just leads to depression. There always will be somebody who suffers more than you do, and there always will be somebody who suffers less. Just figure out the essence of what you want from your life and get on with living it the best way you can. Don't stop striving to make your life the best it can be, but measure your progress by your own yardstick, not somebody else's.

    --Laura R.M.
  8. lassiecass

    lassiecass New Member

    Hi All,
    Thank you so much for responding Allhart,Princessraye,Laura,Kathryn,and especially MightyMouth. The information you left is wonderful and very informative,I really appreciate it and all of your responses. I try not to compare myself with anyone else in this DD go round. I was just feeling guilty about not keeping up and I so want to be able to. It passes quickly but I am grateful for the info on MS. I have decided that I need to talk to my Dr. again and maybe run a more conclusive test as in spinal MRI and see if everything is okay. I have alot of numbness in one of my legs and use a cane more and more now because it throws off my balance. You are all special people and I thank you again.
    Soft Hugs,
    Sandy (Cass)
  9. mightymouth

    mightymouth New Member

    that's the beauty of boards:
    to help others
    and to learn from others.
    God Bless
  10. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Has both MS and FMS and she runs races and rollerblades, plus she is still working. I have FMS and CFIDS and can do none of these things. I do know that she suffers from a lot of fatigue and cognitive problems.

    I think regardless of which of these illnesses, or combination of them, that we have, we are all in different places in terms of our ilnesses, symptoms, and level of healing, if any. We simply cannot compare ourselves to others.

    Love, Mikie