Osteoarthritis or Fibromyalgia

Hello I have posted before. Back ground age 75 female with OA diagnosed in spine neck knees and thumb. I also suspect It is is in hands hips lower back all over really. It has suddenly got worse and because I was also told by rheumatologist back in 2017 that I also had mild fibromyalgia. I have read people say no such thing as mild fibro either you have it or not. So now wondering if this might mean fibro has worsened how would I know. I have put on weight since gallbladder surgery which does not help and at the moment I have no will power to lose weight. I need to lose a least a stone. I was fine after even after gallbladder removal. I was even able to eat foods which previously I cook not as I also have IBSC. I have now getting back to having stomach symptoms and suffering once again with constipation. I am so fed not knowing what to do to help my self I have exercises for neck and shoulder although not really been able to do them the last few weeks. Feeling frustrated can't do the things I want my husband helps where he can but in the same boat with osteo arthritis asthma and so on. I have been reluctant to go back to GP first you have to get a telephone appointment which is hard as once you get through they are all gone and then an appointment to see the GP if they think if he GP thinks is necessary. I did ask a couple of years ago for repeat xrays but GP said wasn't worth it. It seems as the NHS is in such a state they only deal with urgent patients. I am no complaining I believe in the NHS it just gets me down being in pain and wondering what to do. I can only take paracetamol ibuprofen gel but not very often not even really supposed to take that. I have taken the odd Tramadol left over from gallbladder pain they have worked but don't like taking them as they are addictive. Also not sure if the dizziness and sick feeling is related to Tramadol as the wear off or the neck neck arthritis either way not good as am I now not even able to read a book or do my crosswords with out feeling awful.. I have a stand for my computer but not sure how I can read or write with the pain etc in my neck. As for Fibromyalia have other problems which make these unadvisable I believe most of them are in he anti depressant groups I have glaucoma and even thought they are only supposed to affect a certain of glaucoma but I have found that I had to come off anti anxiety drugs given for a bout of anxiety in 2020 and also steroid inhaler which both cause eye pressure to go high. I won't risk my eyes and sight at my age. I know the current thinking is no medication for OA etc but it is hard to manage when in pain as no one else will do the cooking cleaning etc. I sound Like I am bitter but I am just so down and frustrated by it all. Thanks for reading this. Any one have any advice.


  • Hi..I have had fibromyalgia for many years and I understand how debilitating it can be. I now have osteoarthritis and for me, there is a big difference. I’m sure everyone is different, so I can only give you my personal experience. Fibromyalgia has given me more fatigue problems and muscle pain and weakness. Osteoarthritis, the pain comes from the bone. My back and knees are very painful and very stiff first thing. My back and knees also grind and crack when I move, this didn’t happen with fibromyalgia….I hope this helps…take care..Bella x

  • Hi, I have had Fibromyalgia for 19 years and would describe it as more of a deep muscle ache and heaviness with fatigue thrown in. I have pain more than fatigue but do have episodes of extreme tiredness on occasion.

    I was diagnosed with Osteoarthritis this week and the symptoms haven't been the same, this is more of a joint pain than muscle and varies from aching joints to stabbing pains. I also get a lot of joint stiffness which I didn't get with just Fibromyalgia, My blood tests that wrested done a couple of weeks ago showed a raised CRP which points to inflammation but Fibromyalgia doesn't normally show up in bloods. I've been told it's quite common to get both so maybe that is the case for you. I do think you should speak to your gp about pain management as they should be helping you with this

  • Liberally13
    Liberally13 Member Posts: 39

    Hello Onebrokelady Thank you for your reply I am thinking it is mainly the arthritis. When I saw the rheumatologist back in 2017 my CRP was normal but I think she might have been testing for Rheumatoid Arthritis I had an aunt who suffered badly with this. I will probably have to speak GP again although getting through to surgery is hard. I cannot tolerate Co-codamol can't take ibuprofen or any of the medications they give for fibro. I know as I spoke many times to gp about this. I think it was because all of my body hurt that I thought Fibro.

    I do hope you are getting the help you need and I wish you well for the future.

  • Liberally13
    Liberally13 Member Posts: 39

    Hello Littlesunflower Thank you for your reply. I am thinking it is more OA as all my joints creak and crack. With regard to fatigue I do feel tired but it is because I don't sleep well usually only about 4/5 hours a night. I take ages to get to sleep and wake once or twice in the night and usually early in the morning at this time I feel very anxious and scared. I know this is common for those with anxiety. I have been on anti anxiety medication and it does work but I can't take them any more because they raise my eye pressures and I already have glaucoma. Through out the years I have had counselling which works but only short term. A lot of my anxiety is about family and other things most of which I cannot change and of course Covid just made everything worse not to mention the awful 2 years before gallbladder surgery. I think not being well just makes it all worse somehow. I am going to try and speak to GP soon but never really find the answers.

    I hope you are getting the help you need and I wish you well for the future.

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,687

    I think it would be good to take all this to your GP, difficult though it sounds to be. I don't think it's a good idea to self-medicate on old tramadol. Many of us can't take tramadol. They mess my stomach up.

    Oh, those days when one has to get up and ring the GP surgery before breakfast! And keep ringing! Usually, it's a practice nurse who rings me back but they're very good and quickly involve a doc if they feel it's necessary.

    I don't have fibro but I can differentiate between my RA and OA. OA tends to rock up when I've overdone things. I hope you can get yours sorted.

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • I totally understand how you feel during the night. Being awake, when all are asleep is the time your mind goes into overdrive. What if this happens, what if that happens….It would be good to speak to an understanding doctor, but also to be kind to yourself…Take care..Bella x🌹🌹

  • I have OA - neck, upper/lower back, shoulders, elbows, hands, hips, knees, ankles. I also have unspecific aches, pains and some weaknesses, which have in the past, been diagnosed as fibromyalgia.

    OA sometimes shows up as bumps or thickened/deformed joints, but the main problems (for me) are the aches and pains and general debility. I dont know how to distinguish fibro symptoms from OA. The other problem is 'clumsy hands'. Cartilage reduction between finger joints leads to weakness and I suspect, some nerve damage. I reckon to drop something at least 10 times a day!

    It gets worse. My shoulders are not good. Recently I have developed really severe ache/pain in the middle/upper arm. I suffered for about 6 weeks. Then I remembered my POLYMYALGIA. It always hits me in the arms. I am pretty sure of the diagnosis - the clear indicator is how long it persists after a does of Prednisolone.

    MY GP put me onto 15mg per day , reducing by 2.5mg per fortnight. After 2-3 days THE PAIN HAD GONE COMPLETELY, except of course for the shoulder arthritis. (I remember some years ago, that the pain went after just 24 hours of steroid.)

    While I really dont want to get too involved with steroids, I think a lowish prophylactic dose might be the answer.

    Diagnosing poly for me is difficult - no matter how much you press and poke the are around, you cant find pain spots or trigger points!

    Best of luck.

  • janp72
    janp72 Member Posts: 6

    Hi Liberally13, I’ve had Fibro for over 20 years, RA for 10years and recent diagnosis of OA. Firstly Fibro…. Usually feels like the worst aches of flu all over, and the fatigue is not just because of poor sleep, it’s there most of the time, and can be bad enough to make you want to stay in bed or need rests during the day. Fibro fog is awful, you feel like you’re losing your mind, sometimes you can’t remember things, other times you can have trouble following a conversation. I actually got in my car and could not remember how to drive! Thank goodness that passed quickly, and has never happened again. There are no blood tests etc for Fibro, only thing docs can do is touch different pressure points on your body to assess how much pain you are in. You can sometimes be referred to pain management, who can help. You really need to be referred to a rheumatologist who could give you a better idea regarding Fibro. I find many GP’s do not have a clue! Osteoarthritis, I am lucky and at present only have it in my wrist and thumb. My rheumatology nurse has referred me to occupational therapy with a view to having a splint made…. I go on Monday for 1st time. RA is the one that shows up in blood tests. My CRP was high 70’s, I was given prednisone, but unfortunately I am one of a very few who have a serious side effect…. I had steroid induced cataracts in both eyes, so needed to come off prednisone and also needed cataract surgery on both eyes.☹️ Now I’m on Hydroxychloroquin, Methotrexate injections and Adalimumab injections, together with some pretty heavy painkillers, and although CRP went right down to 7, it’s crept up a bit now because I’m having a flare. My flares nearly always happen at this time of year, when the weather changes, and if I’m stressed. It’s a double whammy this year, hubby has just had 2 cycles of chemo after having a cancerous mole and a suspicious lump confirmed as cancer, and this cold and damp weather kills me!

    My husband swears if I jumped up and down (I wish😅) he’d be able to hear all my tablets rattling around in my tummy😅

    Get a face to face with your GP. Before you go, write down all your symptoms, sleep pattern, mood, and tell them exactly how you feel. If you are offered painkillers, you should try them, you cannot immediately become addicted…… it takes a long time for that to happen, and even a low dose of something might give you enough pain relief to manage a good night’s sleep. It’s amazing how much better you’ll feel if you can sleep properly. Sending gentle hugs. Good luck. 😘

  • Jenwren
    Jenwren Member Posts: 9

    Hi I've also posted before about having Ostioarthritis & fibromyalgia.

    When I asked my doctor years ago if my pain could be fibromyalgia as my sister who had already been diagnosed & myself had the same symptons he told me don't be silly you can't have Ostioarthritis & fibromyalgia together & it was brushed aside.

    I did eventually get diagnosed after seeing a Nurse practitioner who referred me to a rheumatologist. But my medication never changed, I did go for physio whosent a letter to my Dr asking for me to be referred to a pain specialist. That never materialised because the Dr didn't think I needed to go.

    After all that I just struggle through on my own with my Arthritis medication.