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Polymyalgia vs. Fibromyalgia: What’s the Difference?

Pain is incredibly common in America. About 40% of people experience extreme pain or soreness at some time in their lives or daily.

But how do you know if that pain is chronic or acute? And what about serious health problems like fibromyalgia and polymyalgia?

If you’re suffering from pain and you’re curious if it could be something more, read on to discover the differences between fibromyalgia and polymyalgia.

Point of Pain

The word myalgia means ‘muscle pain’. So any words associated with myalgia are going to refer to the pain of some sort. But sometimes it’s hard to get to the bottom of which condition is which.

Let’s look at some of the differences between fibromyalgia and polymyalgia.


Fibromyalgia is caused due to abnormalities within the central nervous system that process pain. You may be incredibly sensitive to pain within different parts of your body. It can strike anyone at any age and is a chronic condition.

Besides pain, you may have other symptoms such as:

  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty controlling bowel movements
  • Fatigue

A diagnosis of fibromyalgia can be done by a doctor.


Polymyalgia also deals with pain, but it’s considered an inflammatory disease of the muscles. The symptoms are mostly pain and stiffness in the muscles such as hips and upper body.

Other symptoms may arise like:

  • Feeling flu-like with fever
  • Fatigue
  • Weightloss

A diagnosis of polymyalgia is done by a doctor.


There are different ways doctors go about diagnosing these conditions.

For fibromyalgia, there’s no way to confirm an accurate diagnosis. However, your doctor will draw blood, order x-rays, and or do biopsies to dismiss other possible conditions. If other conditions cannot be found, your doctor will likely diagnose you with fibromyalgia.

Polymyalgia can be detected through blood tests. The test will show high levels of inflammation, but the doctor may run more tests to rule out other possible autoimmune diseases.


Both fibromyalgia and polymyalgia are chronic conditions, meaning it’s likely they will last your lifetime. However, this doesn’t mean you need to suffer in pain. Doctors can prescribe ways in which you can deal with the pain.

For polymyalgia, one of the best treatments prescribed is corticosteroids which can relieve some of the pain. Additionally, making changes to your lifestyle, like avoiding lifting heavy items, will help make life more manageable.

For those with fibromyalgia, over-the-counter medications can combat some of the pain. However, most doctors will recommend exercise and a healthy diet to offset some of the pain.

Antidepressants may also help to encourage people to sleep.

Some people may turn to holistic methods like acupuncture to help treat their symptoms, but these methods show little evidence of working well for polymyalgia.

Don’t Live in Pain

Understanding more about fibromyalgia and polymyalgia can help you decide to see a professional for help. Some treatments can aid you in living a better quality of life so you don’t have to live in pain.

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