Fibromyalgia and Arthritis
Swelling in the hands and feet is the main reason why fibromyalgia and arthritis are sometimes confused with one another. However, swelling in each of the medical condition occurs differently and is due to different reasons. In arthritis, the swelling occurs in the joints of hands and feet. Fibromyalgia swelling, although may occur anywhere, is most common in the hands and feet and may be mistaken as arthritis swelling. Arthritis swelling in the joints are caused by actual tissues damage. However, fibromyalgia swelling is not due to the same reason.
What Causes Fibromyalgia Swelling?
There are a few approaches to explaining fibromyalgia swelling:
- A feeling of swelling – similar to formication, some fibromyalgia patients can experience swelling sensations when there really isn’t any physical swelling. In this case, there will not be observable signs of swelling. In addition to swelling sensation, fibro patients can also experience creepy crawly sensation, which makes them feel uncomfortable. The reason behind these is unclear but can be due to disrupted nervous system activity.
- Trigger points – trigger points are pain spots in fibromyalgia patients who also suffer from Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS). Trigger points, unlike tender points, are knots in the muscles where the muscle fibers are inflamed. These points can lead to referred pain in surrounding areas causing them to feel swollen.
- Edema – edema is swelling caused by fluid retention in the body tissues. Edema will cause physical swelling or puffiness to affect areas. They usually occur in the hands, arms, feet, ankles and lower leg but can also happen anywhere in the body. Edema is very common in fibromyalgia. There can be many reasons behind edema in fibromyalgia which include prolonged sitting or standing, high salt consumption, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Other common underlying medical conditions such as heart condition or varicose veins can also cause edema.