Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition that can often lead to exhaustion with no known cause. While it is not fatal, the pain can be excruciating.  When fibromyalgia is diagnosed and treated properly, most people have a significant reduction in symptoms and a much better quality of life. However, diagnosing fibromyalgia is often difficult and symptoms can mimic other conditions, such as TMD. Let’s take a look at how fibromyalgia can often be misdiagnosed.

A System Overlap

As mentioned previously, the main symptom of fibromyalgia is widespread pain. You can have pain on the right side, left side, or both sides of the body. It can also be above and below the waist—either way, it is extremely painful. The pain can even occur in only one or two places in the body, especially the neck and shoulders.

Diagnosing fibromyalgia can be tricky because it isn’t the only condition with widespread pain. In addition to pain, another symptom of fibromyalgia is chronic fatigue. However, just like pain, patients with other conditions also have chronic fatigue, which makes the diagnosis even harder. Pain and fatigue, as well as other symptoms of fibromyalgia, might be present in patients with other conditions, including the following symptoms:

  • Thinking and memory problems
  • Headaches
  • Sensitivity to temperature, light, and noise
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • TMJ Disorder
  • Morning stiffness
  • Numbing or tingling of the extremities
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Urinary problems

Any combination of these symptoms can also suggest the presence of other illnesses, which makes proper diagnosis important.

The TMD Connection

Many patients suffering from TMJ problems might also suffer from fibromyalgia. Unfortunately, many doctors don’t recognize TMD or fibromyalgia or fail to see the connection of these two pain conditions. Fibromyalgia almost always intensifies the painful symptoms of TMD. Each disorder makes the other far worse than they would be on their own.

When one or both temporomandibular joints are dislocated, the pain of fibromyalgia in the neck and upper back are greatly magnified. Both TMD and fibromyalgia produce similar painful symptoms in the muscles of the neck, shoulders, back, face and head.

Unfortunately, many doctors who effectively treat fibromyalgia do not understand or recognize TMD and vice versa. Additionally, many patients who suffer from TMD have often been misdiagnosed as having fibromyalgia. For this reason, it is important to find proper diagnosis and treatment planning.

For more information on TMD and how it might relate to fibromyalgia, contact Dr. Mayoor Patel at Craniofacial Pain & Dental Sleep Center of Georgia today.