Polymyalgia vs Fibromyalgia

Polymyalgia rheumatica and fibromyalgia are both inflammatory diseases. Learn what the differences are between these inflammatory conditions and how to tell if you are suffering from one or the other.

Polymyalgia rheumatica and fibromyalgia are both inflammatory diseases. If you have PMR, you feel aches and stiffness in your shoulder muscles, as well as muscles of the neck, hips, and arms after resting. If you have fibromyalgia, you experience the same pain in the same body parts as you do with PMR, along with a few other symptoms, including difficulty in sleeping, tiredness and memory problems.

Pain Areas in Fibromyalgia
PMR can be as painful as fibromyalgia which manifests chronic pains in the muscles, tendons, and joints (image from medicinenet.com)

Risk Factors

The elderly, especially those above 60, are more likely to suffer from PMR and is rare to people under 50. Fibromyalgia can affect anyone but most common among women. Both illnesses can be acquired through genetics such that having certain genes can increase your risk of getting either disease which may be passed on to your descendants.

Polymyalgia can be a viral disease in certain seasons of the year. Illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis, other autoimmune diseases, and some emotional or physical trauma can trigger fibromyalgia.

Diagnosing Polymyalgia vs Fibromyalgia

Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) can be confirmed through a number of tests conducted by a doctor such as MRI or ultrasound, blood tests and monitoring of the condition of a giant cell arteritis while a diagnosis of fibromyalgia is more difficult to confirm. There are no lab tests that can be performed to precisely confirm this illness but the doctor may rule other conditions with the same symptoms through blood tests.


Treatment prescribed for polymyalgia rheumatica are corticosteroids such as prednisone which is reliable in relieving symptoms.

A treatment for fibromyalgia diagnosis is a combination medicine that may simultaneously fight fatigue and pain. Over the counter medicines such as Tylenol or ibuprofen are usually prescribed by the doctor while an antidepressant is suggested to solve sleeping difficulties.

Living with Polymyalgia or Fibromyalgia

People with polymyalgia can make their daily chores done smoothly with the use of rolling suitcases when traveling. Women are advised to avoid wearing high heels while persons with fibromyalgia can feel better by observing good sleeping habits and not overdoing activities.

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