Living with Fibro

Cervical Dystonia and Fibromyalgia: What is the Difference?

Those who suffer with fibromyalgia understand the struggles that are associated with this illness. The key for those who live with this illness is to find a happy medium where they are still being active and social and where they are not putting more pressure or pain on their bodies.

For many people, this can cause their lives to change completely. For other people, they simply have to learn how to deal with the pain in a way that keeps them moving and functional.

Fibromyalgia is one of those illnesses that can cause other issues to arise, resulting in a patient being in even more pain. While there have been no definite ties into some issues being caused by fibromyalgia, most medical professionals agree that those with fibromyalgia are more likely to get certain illnesses.

One condition that is of interest to many people is cervical dystonia. Is this condition caused by fibromyalgia? Is there a difference between the two conditions? As they are often confused with one another by several patients.

What is Cervical Dystonia?

Cervical dystonia is categorized as a painful condition that is occurring in the neck muscles. These neck muscles are going to contract involuntarily, which can cause the head to twist to the side or even tilt forward or backward. This is considered a rare condition.

However, when it does affect people it often affects women who are middle aged. The symptoms of this illness start gradually and then get worse. There is no cure, though there are methods to help relieve some of the issues.

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is categorized as pain throughout the body coupled with muscle weakness or stiffness. Those who have fibromyalgia often state that it feels like they constantly have the flu. There is no cure for this illness.

However, thanks to modern medicine and numerous studies being done on this illness, there are treatments that are allowing people to return to their normal life and be as active as they want to be.

However, this is a trial and error method as what works for one person may not work for the other.

The Difference Between Cervical Dystonia and Fibromyalgia

The main difference that is seen in cervical dystonia and fibromyalgia is that one affects the entire body while the other is focused in the neck muscles.

Other differences include:

  1. Fibromyalgia does not cause involuntary movement in most people.
  2. Fibromyalgia is more painful as this pain is radiating throughout the body as opposed to one area of the body.
  3. Cervical dystonia can greatly stop a person from living the life that they want, whereas fibromyalgia can be managed with trial and error.

While both are considered neurological disorders, they are very different in nature.

Can a Person have Both Cervical Dystonia and Fibromyalgia?

The answer to this is yes. Both illnesses are independent and one is not going to cause the other. Therefore, a person could have both.

However, the likelihood of both are rather slim. In order to be diagnosed with both, the doctor would have to look at the independent symptoms that were occurring.

For this reason, there are many people who believe that the dystonia is causing pain throughout their body, and those who believe that fibromyalgia is causing the twitching and pain of the neck muscles.

Cervical Dystonia and Fibromyalgia

Treating Cervical Dystonia

For those who have been diagnosed with cervical dystonia, they realize that there is no cure. However, treatments can help the person to have a better handle on this illness.

While they may not be able to get back to their full healthy selves, they can still function in everyday life.

Some of the treatment options for this illness include:

  • Injection of Botox into the neck muscles that are affected has been shown to help the pain and the involuntarily movement. These injections often should be repeated every three to four months.
  • Utilizing sensory tricks such as touching the opposite side of the neck when these involuntarily movements happen can quite the muscle and allow the neck to go back into normal position.
  • Utilizing heat packs can help the muscles to relax and not spasm.
  • The use of exercises and massage have also proven helpful in dealing with these muscle spasms.
  • There are a few surgical options. One is the deep brain stimulation in which a thin wire is placed into the brain through a small hole in the skull to help control movement through electrical pulses that are sent into the wire. The other option is to have the nerves cut that are carrying these signals to the neck to move involuntarily. In most cases, surgery is the last option for most patients.

Treating Fibromyalgia

The treatments for fibromyalgia are numerous, and every day there are new treatment options that are being uncovered.

Some of the more known treatment options include:

  • Utilizing massage to help deal with the tension that may be in the muscles causing spasms and pain
  • Using hot and cold therapy to help deal with the pain in the body
  • Getting more exercise to keep muscles loose and less likely to stiffen up and cause pain
  • Taking medications that are meant for nerve issues or depression have been shown to help a person manage this illness more effectively.
  • Utilizing over the counter pain medications to help with the ‘flu like’ feeling that many patients talk about.

While some of the treatments such as massage and hot/cold therapies are similar with these issues, it is clear that these issues are very different from one another.

For those who have either issue, it is important that they talk with their doctor and work with them to find a treatment option that is going to work.

While there are no cures for either illness, measures to treat this can make life more bearable. It can help a person to stay as active and social as they can, which is important to overall mental health.

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Living with Fibro

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