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Fibromyalgia vs. RA: Lots of similarities, more differences

Fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis are two different conditions with similar symptoms that are often mixed up. Both can be painful, debilitating conditions, but there are distinct differences that set them apart. 

The major difference in diagnosis has to do with inflammation. In rheumatoid arthritis, joint inflammation is one of the key symptoms. Fibromyalgia does not damage your joints the way arthritis can. There is usually pain accompanying fibromyalgia that is not the result of inflammation. It also doesn't appear to damage muscles or other soft tissues.

Another significant difference between RA and fibromyalgia are the paths of progression. RA symptoms progress slowly and typically flare up, then improve. Over time, symptoms usually get worse without treatment. With fibromyalgia, symptoms are episodic and don't grow more serious over time.  Other symptoms of RA include joint pain on both sides of the body at the same time.

RA is a serious condition that requires timely treatment to avoid long-term joint damage. Major organs can also be damaged if RA is not treated. Fibromyalgia is difficult to diagnose because there isn't a specific test or x-ray that will confirm the diagnosis. Usually, RA is ruled out first. 

Treatment options including medication and lifestyle changes can make a difference in your quality of life.  Milkweed Balm, along with a treatment plan from your doctor, may help to ease your pain. The anti-inflammatory properties of Milkweed Balm may help promote bone, joint, and muscle health so you can resume daily activities.