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Home > Health Hub > Article > What is the Difference between Polymyalgia and Fibromyalgia?

What is the Difference between Polymyalgia and Fibromyalgia?

Dr Reginald Varadarajulu Vsm

Dr Reginald Varadarajulu Vsm

  Hbr layout, Bengaluru     Jan 19, 2019

   2 min     


Fibromyalgia and Polymyalgia are very common disorders characterized by widespread muscle stiffness and pain. Fibromyalgia and polymyalgia, both the conditions are more common in women than in men. Polymyalgia usually occurs in people age over 55 while fibromyalgia occurs among young and middle-aged people. They both cause muscle pain throughout the body but they are different disorders and have different causes. A person can have both of them at the same time and only with the help of proper diagnosis, one can differentiate between the two.


Though both the conditions look similar and have similar symptoms, they are caused due to different reasons:

Polymyalgia: It is an autoimmune disease, meaning that the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own healthy tissues. Polymyalgia is an inflammatory disorder.

Fibromyalgia: It occurs due to overactive nerves that cause pain in the body regardless of any physical injury.


These both conditions can cause widespread pain throughout the body. Both the conditions have various similarities and differences in their symptoms such as:

The location of the pain: People with fibromyalgia experience pain on both sides of the body while people with polymyalgia experiences stiffness and pain in their shoulders, back, and hip girdles.

Mental health: Both of the conditions can cause depression.

Morning stiffness: Both the conditions can cause the stiffness in muscles and joints in the morning or after long hours of sleep or rest.

Sleep difficulties: People with fibromyalgia usually have trouble in sleeping.


A diagnosis of fibromyalgia is very difficult. When a doctor is not able to find any other cause of pain throughout the body then they might diagnose fibromyalgia. There is no test to determine fibromyalgia.

Polymyalgia, on the other hand, can be diagnosed by blood tests. People with polymyalgia usually have elevated levels of inflammatory proteins in their blood making the diagnosis easy.

Other diagnostic tests are also performed to rule out other inflammatory diseases, such as a biopsy, or blood test for rheumatoid factor.


Polymyalgia can be treated with corticosteroids. They are very effective in treating this condition. Fibromyalgia cannot be treated but its symptoms can be reduced by medications. Therapies and management techniques that may help fibromyalgia include:

•    Acupuncture

•    Massage therapy

•    Dietary changes

•    Stress management

•    Avoiding fibromyalgia triggers

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Tags:  Immunity,Autoimmune Diseases,fibromyalgia,Polymyalgia,muscle pain,

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