Multiple Sclerosis vs. Fibromyalgia

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Difference between Multiple Sclerosis and Fibromyalgia

Abnormalities in the performance of the central nervous system may lead to development of multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia. In the case of fibromyalgia some studies have found correlations, but no direct causality has been yet established.

As both medical conditions can be caused by a genetic predisposition, it is important to pay attention to early symptoms and consult a doctor. There is no cure, but symptoms can be alleviated through various therapies.

Researchers worldwide try to better understand the causes for multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia in order to respond with effective treatment programs designed to reduce the level of pain suffered by the patients.

Multiple Sclerosis


Multiple sclerosis is a disease characterized by the damage of myelin sheaths protecting the nerve axons in the brain and the spinal cord. It is common for young adults and women are mostly affected by it. The scleroses are lesions in the white matter. Multiple sclerosis causes physical and cognitive disability.

Fibromyalgia is a medical disorder characterized by chronic pain felt in the whole body and painful response to pressure. It affects 4% of the population with a higher incidence for women.


People with multiple sclerosis can suffer from neurological related symptoms such as numbness, difficulties with coordination, with speech and eyesight issues. Fatigue and chronic pain are other two reported symptoms. The patient feels very tired and has troubles with locomotion. The cognitive impairment associated with the disease leads to depressive states and fast mood changes. Symptoms of multiple sclerosis occur in episodes called relapses. These can be triggered by a cold, gastroenteritis or stress.

The defining symptom of fibromyalgia is chronic widespread pain. Patients also accuse painful responses to pressure. Other associated symptoms are a sensation of skin tingling, muscle spasms, limb weakness, palpitations, sleep disorders and headaches. Cognitive dysfunction is also a symptom of fibromyalgia leading to loss of concentration, memory issues, anxiety and depression.


There are certain therapies a person may try to alleviate the symptoms of the multiple sclerosis disease. During acute relapses, intravenous corticosteroids may be administered to reduce the intensity of the attacks. Five types of medication may reduce the number of relapses associated with the illness. They are interferon beta-1, interferon beta-2, glatiramer acetate, mitoxantrone and natalizumab. Alternative treatments are the use of herbal medicine or medical cannabis.

To alleviate the symptoms of fibromyalgia, cognitive behavioral therapy is recommended by some doctors. Antidepressants can also contribute to fight against pain and sleep disorders.

Similarities and Differences

  • Multiple sclerosis is a disease characterized by the damage to the myelin sheaths (outer layer of nerves) leading to physical and cognitive disability. Fibromyalgia is a medical disorder characterized by chronic widespread pain and painful response to pressure.
  • Symptoms of multiple sclerosis include numbness, difficulties with coordination, fatigue and chronic pain. Fibromyalgia symptoms include chronic widespread pain, limb weakness and sleep disorders.
  • Intravenous corticosteroids, five types of medication and herbal medicine can alleviate multiple sclerosis symptoms. Cognitive behavioral therapy and antidepressants are recommended in the case of fibromyalgia.

Which condition is more painful?
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Fibromyalgia

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