National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day: chronic migraine, lupus, IBS, and rheumatoid arthritis

May 12 is the National Fibromyalgia Day, which sheds light on this painful condition, but we want to raise awareness about all aspects of fibromyalgia so we are including stories about chronic migraines, lupus, IBS, and rheumatoid arthritis, and how they are impacted by fibromyalgia.

There is still much unknown about fibromyalgia, but the more research is done the more we learn about this condition. Here is a roundup of Bel Marra Health’s news stories regarding fibromyalgia and other conditions that can be impacted by it.

Fibromyalgia pain in women linked to chronic migraineFibromyalgia pain in women linked to chronic migraine


Fibromyalgia (FM), a chronic and widespread pain condition, is linked to chronic migraines in women. Research has found that symptoms can worsen after a headache or migraine, suggesting that migraines may trigger fibromyalgia pain.

The study included 203 women divided into five groups: 40 fibromyalgia patients, 41 high-frequency episodic migraine patients, 40 chronic migraine patients, 42 fibromyalgia with high-frequency episodic migraine patients, and 40 fibromyalgia patients with chronic migraines.

In a second phase of the study, 86 fibromyalgia and frequent episodic migraine patients were divides into two groups: 47 received migraine treatment and 39 did not receive treatment.

Pain threshold to electrical stimulation in skin was measured in multiple body parts, and muscle pressure pain threshold was assessed in 18 tender points. Patients also kept a diary for three months to record migraines and fibromyalgia peak pain episodes.

Lowest pain threshold to electrical stimulation and pressure was seen in fibromyalgia patients with migraines, followed by fibromyalgia patients with high-frequency episodic migraine, patients with fibromyalgia only, patients with chronic migraine only, and high-frequency episodic migraine patients. Continue reading…

fibromyalgia vs lupusFibromyalgia vs. Lupus, differences in symptoms, pain, causes, and treatment

Fibromyalgia and lupus are two conditions that can cause pain, but it’s important to recognize the many significant differences between the two. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), or lupus, is an autoimmune systemic disorder, which affects the joints, skin, and practically any organ in the body. Fibromyalgia affects the muscles causing pain, tender points, and extreme fatigue, and can contribute to anxiety or depression.

Both lupus and fibromyalgia are difficult to diagnose, and many patients with fibromyalgia are often wrongly diagnosed with lupus and vice versa. Furthermore, the two diseases can actually overlap one another, and there is a higher risk of rheumatic disease in fibromyalgia patients.

Fibromyalgia affects roughly two percent of the population and women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than men. Estimates of lupus cases in the U.S. are 161,000 with definite lupus and 322,000 with definite or probable lupus. Like fibromyalgia, lupus often affects women more than men, too. Continue reading…

IBSFibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) connection with chronic pain

Fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) share a connection with chronic pain. IBS is a gastrointestinal condition that affects eight to 20 percent of the population. Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized by all-over chronic pain. Symptoms such as skin rashes, muscle contractions, and myalgia are reported in two-thirds of IBS patients. Other research has found an overlap between IBS and fibromyalgia, suggesting that a common cause may be shared between the two conditions.
Fibromyalgia has been seen in up to 60 percent of IBS patients, and 70 percent of fibromyalgia patients are diagnosed with IBS.

Although pain in IBS is generally gastrointestinal and fibromyalgia pain is muscular, they both share common characteristics: they are both pain disorders that cannot be explained through structural or biochemical abnormalities; they both commonly occur in women; patients typically link stressful life events with worsening of symptoms; patients complain of sleep problems; psychotherapy and behavioral therapies seem to improve both conditions; and certain medications can treat both conditions. Continue reading…

Fibromyalgia pain levels can be predicted by leptin, studyFibromyalgia pain levels can be predicted by leptin, study

Fibromyalgia pain levels can be predicted by leptin, according to research. Fibromyalgia is a condition with many diverse symptoms, the most common being widespread pain. Associated differing biological variables include elevated sedimentation rate (ESR), cytokine profile, and hormone levels. Diagnosing fibromyalgia is a challenge as there are no known biomarkers a patient can be tested for. For the study, researchers used the Vectra®DA, a multi-biomarker disease activity score, to measure serum biomarkers in patients with fibromyalgia and elevated inflammatory markers.
This cross-sectional study involved 33 patients from Los Angeles County. Patients displayed high results on the Vectra®DA, with mean score of 46.5 (range 30 to 84, or moderate to high activity). The serum concentrations of 12 biomarkers – with the exception of leptin – were found to be similar to those with rheumatoid arthritis. Forty-five percent of fibromyalgia patients had higher leptin levels.


The researchers found that the protein leptin plays an important pro-inflammatory and immunomodulatory role in the disease development in a clinical subgroup of fibromyalgia patients with elevated leptin levels. A better understanding of the leptin participation in the pathogenic processes of fibromyalgia may help diagnose the condition and offer better treatments. Continue reading…

Fibromyalgia may be confused with rheumatoid arthritis or lupusFibromyalgia may be confused with rheumatoid arthritis or lupus

Fibromyalgia is a condition that is easily confused with other health issues, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. For the latest study, researchers had participants complete the Revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQR) and the Symptom Impact Questionnaire (SIQ). The questionnaires were used to determine specific features that could outline differences between fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.

Results from both questionnaires revealed the biggest differences between the three conditions involved ‘tenderness to touch,’ ‘difficulty cleaning floors,’ and ‘discomfort on sitting for 45 minutes.’ Other differences included mid-lower back pain, tenderness to touch, neck pain, hand pain, arm pain, outer lower back pain, and sitting for 45 minutes.
The researchers concluded that these areas of pain should be combined for a new questionnaire to better diagnose and recognize fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. Continue reading…