Polymyalgia rheumatica and fibromyalgia both cause pain and discomfort. However, they differ in several ways. Polymyalgia generally affects older individuals, while fibromyalgia can affect various age groups. Polymyalgia rheumatica is a relatively short-term condition that affects certain parts of the body, but fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that affects all of the body.
Age of Onset
According to the National Health Institutes, polymyalgia rheumatic generally only affects individuals over the age of 50.
The NIH reports that fibromyalgia is most common in women between the ages of 20 and 50.
Body Parts Affected
Polymyalgia rheumatic usually only affected the muscles in the hip and shoulder. Also, polymyalgia rheumatic may occur along with temporal arteritis, which is an inflammation of the blood vessels in the head and neck region.
Fibromyalgia affects muscles, joints and tendons all over the body. It may occur along with lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
Symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatic come on very suddenly and include fever, anemia, weight loss, fatigue, facial pain, malaise, pain in the shoulders and hips and neck pain. The neck, shoulders and hips may feel stiff as well.
Symptoms of fibromyalgia include all-over body pain, tender points, fatigue, memory problems, irritable bowel syndrome, tingling, numbness, headaches and problems sleeping.
Polymyalgia rheumatic usually resolves itself in about 1 to 4 years after the onset of symptoms.
Fibromyalgia may improve and worsen at times, but it is often a life-long condition.
Polymyalgia rheumatic is usually treated with corticosteroids.
Fibromyalgia may be treated with stress management, lifestyle modifications including eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise, physical therapy and medications such as Cymbalta and Lyrica.