RA or Fibromyalgia?

Please help me figure this out.....I have had a flare for about 4 weeks now. I am currently on Enbrel and sulfasalizine. My blood tests since being diagnosed with RA have always been negative with the exception of a positive ANA. At my appointment this morning, my doctor had me fill out a questionnaire. I did not know what it was for, but when I was finished he seemed convinced that I have fibro instead of RA. I feel strongly that it is not fibro since I have had swelling and redness and the pain is usually in my joints and not muscles. I feel as though the test was an unfair representation of my condition since everything feels bad in a flare! He ordered an MRI on my right hand and an HLA-B27 to check for RA damage or AS. I have no depression, no TMJ, no IBS, and I have read that steroids don't help fibro symptoms. Whereas, steroids have been a miracle drug for me when needed. Am I being unreasonable? Opinions, please? Thank you!

7 Replies

  • I understand your frustration. Are you sure your doctor wasn't suggesting that you have Fibro as well as RA rather than instead of RA? Once your blood tests are back, if you feel you've been given a diagnosis that doesn't feel right/ fit your symptoms you could ask for a second opinion perhaps?

  • Thank you, Twitch! I really am considering that. There are so many symptoms of fibro that I don't have and it just doesn't make sense.

  • And yes, he wants to change the diagnosis to fibro, not RA.

  • Write down all the symptoms & signs that you have in two columns under fibromyalgia and RA. take it with you when you see the rheumatologist. There is no reason why you should not express your own opinion as to the diagnosis.

    Having a long term illness should be a partnership between the patient who lives with the problems all the time and the health professionals who see you for a snapshot of time. It should be a discussion, not a health professional telling you things. We have to manage our condition for 99% of the time, they see us for 1%. They may have more specialised knowledge about the condition and its treatment, but we have the specialised knowledge about our own bodies.

  • You are so right, oldtimer! He didn't give me a chance to explain anything. He just got FM in his head and had tunnel vision from then on. I think I will be seeking a second opinion.

  • I saw (another locum) rheumatologist a couple of weeks ago, who also suggested to me that I have fibromyalgia and not RA. I have never had a confirmed diagnosis of RA, so I guess it's not so upsetting for me, but like you I don't think I have FM at all... As far as I'm aware, the diagnostic criteria are that you have pain in lots of parts of your body that has remained constant for at least 3 months, and that there is no other reason for it. My pain, to me, is quite adequately explained by the arthritis in my joints, and by tendinosis. These are severe enough to have caused confirmed degenerative changes (OA), deformities in my hands and feet, erosions in my hands and nodules... None of which are explained by fibromyalgia!

    I was particularly frustrated because he got the idea of FM into his head within the first couple of minutes, and it seemed to stop him from actually examining me properly...

    Anyway, rant over... I just wanted to say I sympathise!

  • My experience was similar in that he got the idea in his head and rolled with it. From that point on it didn't matter that I don't have headaches or mouth sores or TMJ, etc. It just mattered that most of my tests are negative and the meds aren't working. Personally, I think I got a bad batch of Enbrel and I was eating too much cheese and I worked too hard in the yard. I have started a new batch of Enbrel now and I am starting to feel better. He didn't give me the chance to explain all that! "Here! You have FM, come back in 4 months, goodbye!" I just can't stop ranting. Sorry!

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