Muscle soreness is a pretty common medical complaint, typically happening after a period of extreme exercise or strenuous physical activity. And in those cases, discomfort usually resolves on its own after a day or two of rest.
But not all muscle pain is caused by overexertion. If you have fibromyalgia, you can experience muscle pain on a regular basis, even if you haven’t been pushing yourself physically.
Early diagnosis of chronic muscle pain is important for helping you feel better, and it’s also important for preventing the condition from getting worse. David Berkower, DO, is skilled in diagnosing fibromyalgia in patients at Berkower Pain & Spine Rehabilitation, creating individualized care plans aimed at helping every patient find relief.
Fibromyalgia and muscle pain
Fibromyalgia is a chronic medical condition that affects about 4 million Americans. While researchers aren’t sure what causes it, it seems to be associated with “overactive” pain signaling in the brain.
Widespread muscle pain is one of the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia. In fact, many people who have fibromyalgia report symptoms similar to the flu, such as general achiness, stiffness, and soreness that occurs in multiple areas at the same time.
Often, painful symptoms are most prevalent in the neck and shoulders, the lower back and legs, and the chest wall. Pain and stiffness are often most noticeable when waking or after a period of rest, but they can also occur after physical activity.
Fibromyalgia vs. strained muscles
While the pain caused by muscle strain may feel similar to the symptoms of fibromyalgia, there are some key differences. One of the biggest differences is how long it takes for the pain to go away.
If it’s a muscle strain, you can expect symptoms to resolve after a day or two of rest in most cases. But with fibromyalgia, the pain persists a lot longer. In fact, if you have widespread pain that lasts for three months or more, there’s a good chance that fibromyalgia is to blame.
Furthermore, people with fibromyalgia often have other symptoms in addition to pain, including:
- Tender spots surrounding affected muscles
- Problems sleeping
- Changes in bowel habits
- Moodiness or depression
- Difficulty concentrating (sometimes called “fibro fog”)
- Extreme fatigue
- Low pain threshold
- Burning or twitching sensations in the muscles
The pain from a muscle strain is also localized, while fibromyalgia pain is widespread, typically affecting more than one part of the body or causing a general achiness with no specific focal point.
Get relief for your muscle pain
Other pain syndromes, such as myofascial pain syndrome and chronic regional pain syndrome, can also cause symptoms similar to fibromyalgia. What they all have in common is that they require medical care to manage the symptoms and keep the condition under control.
If you have chronic muscle pain that won’t go away, getting a diagnosis is the first step toward feeling better. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Berkower Pain & Spine Rehabilitation today.