Fibro mimicking other conditions?

I have RA and Fibromyalgia and as anyone who has Fibro knows it can mimic other conditions. I have symptoms which I'd like to discuss and see if anyone has had this and it's then turned out to be Fibro and not Cervical disc herniation with nerve compression.

So I have been to my Gp and am being referred to a specialist. I have a history of pins and needles in my hand and my physio thought that it was coming from my shoulder/neck. Unfortunately at that time I had a fall and needed a knee op so couldn't have the MRI she had suggested. I've had a pain over the back of my arm, running down to my elbow for the past two months and nothing relieved it. Last week i statrted getting a headache and the pins and needles in my hand was really bad. Within an hour I had to go to bed because i could barely open my eyes, the pain in my head was really awful and i have never experience a pain like it, along with that my arm felt numb and very tingly and the pain got worse. i couldn't lie downand had to sleep propped up. Since then i have had a slight headache every day, the pain is in my shoulder and upper arm almost like a line of pain, it's better in the morning though I do get woken if I move my arm in a certain way, as the morning goes on it gets worse with use. Driving seems to really aggravate the pain and today as i had to hold a phone in the affected hand when i put the phone down, my middle finger was deviating to the right.

do any of these symptoms seem to fit with cervical nerve compression or Fibro. I had a strength test at the GP and had a job holding paper between any of my fingers and i am finding my hand aches a lot if I hld htings of any weight. Thanks for your thoughts.

5 Replies

  • Hi from Nurse Gladys Emanuel (open all hours) can I ask you a few things? The bad headaches, what drug therapy are you taking-does it say on the leaflet you might get headaches? Holding weights or heavy objects, does this hurt your wrists and muscles? Mine do but I have arthralgia in my hands and fibro in my thumb muscles. Sleeping propped up will alter your neck & shoulder muscles which might cause head pain from tightened muscles. When my fibro was diagnosed I had a history of ankylosing spondilitis and the pains I reported to my rheumatologist were in the same places, he said the muscles supporting each joint can get "tatty" and weak from overuse to compensate for poor joints, he decided it was fibro because RA shows raised ESR levels in your blood (inflammatory levels).. If the headache persists more than 48 hours and becomes unbearable then call g.p or if closed go A&E and get a scan don't leave it to chance.. I hope you are settled with your pain very soon.

  • Thanks for the quick response. I've probably focused too much on the headache. It's just slightly there now and the reason I sat up on that particular night was because i couldn't lie down. I can now. I've been on my various meds for years and never get hedaches unless I'm unwell, cold etc. I do have problems with my hands because of my RA but this feels differently, it's as though my hand is weak and and not able to be controlled so well. i've had bilateral carpel tunne; releases between 2003 and 2009. Interestingly i have never had a raised ESR or Positive Rheumatoid factor but have RA because of erosions on scan of my fingers and wrists.

    Having had RA and Fibro for the best part of 20yrs, I have quite a good idea of which is which when feeling bad. The reason i have asked the question is because this feels different.

  • Mine is cervical. The MRI was very clear. The headaches can be horrendous. We forget we have muscles all over the skull so Fibro can't be discounted. Best suggestion is to get the MRI done. It will involve being referred to a neurosurgeon as, here at least, a GP cannot order a cervical MRI. If it's your neck, you have my sympathies X 🐸

  • Yes i have to wait now and hope the referral doesn't take too long. Still my GP has said if things get worse they can push to have the appointment pushed. Would like to see if anyone else has ideas.

  • Hi cb1611

    Welcome to the forum and it is wonderful to make your acquaintance. I have pasted below a link to our mother site, FMA UK which hosts loads of useful Fibro information:

    I have to admit that the only diagnosed nerve compression I have is my sciatic nerve, and this was mistaken for Fibro in the early days of my Fibro diagnosis. I went for an MRI and to physio and it was seen not to be my Fibro causing the pain in this region at all but the sciatic nerve.

    I want to sincerely wish you all the best of luck, and please take care of yourself.

    All my hopes and dreams for you


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