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What is the difference between fibromialgia and arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and fibromyalgia are two different conditions with some similar symptoms. These symptoms include:

pain that may feel like a dull ache
sleep disturbances
fatigue
feelings of depression and anxiety

The causes of these conditions are very different. RA is an autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack the joints. Fibromyalgia is a disorder accompanied by musculoskeletal pain and symptoms of fatigue, trouble sleeping, and problems with memory and mood.

While the Arthritis Foundation (AF) considers fibromyalgia to be an “arthritis-related condition,” there are distinct differences between the two conditions. RA and fibromyalgia progress very differently. Fibromyalgia usually causes constant pain that may worsen with poor sleep and stress. On the other hand, RA can flare up and grow progressively worse without treatment.

You should always talk to your doctor about your symptoms. Knowing how they are different can help your doctor make a more accurate diagnosis. Learn how these two conditions differ.