Fibromyalgia And Lupus, Know The Difference


Difference Between Symptoms of Fibromyalgia and Lupus

People with fibromyalgia or lupus will experience the symptoms in different ways and in varying severity. Like fibromyalgia, lupus can also exhibit periods of flares and remission where symptoms are severe and mild respectively.

In general, lupus shows symptoms which are similar to fibromyalgia such as chronic fatigue, depression, as well as joint and muscle pains. It is for this reason why many mistake fibromyalgia as lupus, or vice versa. However, there are also some characteristic symptoms of lupus which does not appear in fibromyalgia. These include:

  • rashes on the cheeks and nose
  • skin lesions which worsen under the sun
  • seizures
  • actual joint inflammation and tissue damage
  • anemia

In addition, fibromyalgia is characterized by tender points which occur at specific spots of the body. This symptom is unique to fibromyalgia and not seen in lupus.


fibromyalgia and lupus

Join the Conversation


  1. says: Alice

    So testing positive for antinuclesr antibodies indicates lupus? I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1995. Then positive ANA in 2013 yet unknown why.. possible rheumatoid arthritis I was told by that kind of specialist who wanted to put me on a strong med w loads of side effects to see if it worked then it was so… no thank you. I just found out I have Hashimotos which commonly indicates another auto immune disease exists as well but there’s so many out there which one is to be determined if any. I’ve never been tested for lupus but this article makes it seem as if positive ANA indicates lupus???

    1. says: Cheryl Toole

      I am a retired laboratory technologist and I am suggesting that you do not put the cart before the wagon. ANA test is used for several conditions not just lupus. I had a positive result years ago, and the pattern suggested that I had a condition called scleroderma. It is not only the count that is important, but it is also the pattern on the test that suggests a certain diagnosis (hard to explain in layman terms ). I was sent to a scleroderma expert only to be told that I did not have it and I was likely suffering from fibro.After a visit to a rheumatologist, the correct diagnosis of fibro was made. So my advice is to not panic until your doctor properly diagnoses you. I gave myself an ulcer over worrying about my test results. Good luck,

  2. says: Con

    For several years I present with lupus (rash on face) and joint pain. I do have Fibro. My ID Dr. Always asks if I have lupus and I always say “no, they always test for it but it comes back negative every time to the surprise of my doctors. He then said you do know you can have a negative Ana test and still have lupus? No, because when test came back the dr. Always dropped it. Anyone have any info about negative Ana Lupus?

    1. says: Sarah

      A positive ANA can indicate lupus. Lupus is typically diagnosed with a positive ANA and then other bloodwork like C3, C4 tests, sed rate, speckled DNA etc. It is also diagnosed with symptoms. There r ten main lupus symptoms including butterfly( Malar rash)on the face, migraines, joint pain, fatigue are some. A positive ANA can also indicate mixed connective tissue disease and small % if the population has a positive ANA just because. If u don’t take the medications u r risking major organ complications, kidney failure and death. Without medications that r available now the statistic was that 20 years ago 40% of people diagnosed with lupus died within five years of diagnosis. I have lupus, fibromyalgia, sjogrens and osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease. I’ve been sick for ten years but because I’m now on the right combo of medications my quality of life is the best it’s been in ten years. Lupus can be diagnosed only by symptoms. U do not have to have a positive AnA to have lupus.

  3. says: sherry blanchard

    There are many days that my hands closely resemble the picture above. It also happens to one of my legs, not the one I have a foot drop on and wear an orthotic. All of the bullet points mentioned above apply to me with the exception of the seizures, although my daughter says I get “lost in thought ” sometimes and her friend who does that has something called Tonic seizures. Not I. I have had abnormal ana results 20 years ago by a primary who diagnosed polymyalgia rheumatica, but I was to busy to go to specialist, single working Mom and all by the time I had no choice I couldn’t work and became uninsured now all they say I have is Fibromyalgia, had bloodwork done once by a Rheumatologist which was normal enough, and after a 3 min exam she said you have Fibro you dont need to see me anymore you primary can refill your meds, Gabapentin and Lyrica ,in which none of their treatments, meds work, my original Doctor retired, and it is like banging my head against a wall. I have blood work where they literally had me go back for a Von Willebrand’s testing and then all of a sudden it is normal again. It will stay ok for a while and then go crazy on something else like kidney values or other, I do not smoke or drink and take my required drug testing for my Tramadol that does work for the most part along with Motrin. I also have sleep apnea, asthma, copd, allergies, HBP, Degenerative Disk, and multiple abdominal hernias that always require surgical repair. My body has a mind of its own, They say pop in for bloodwork when you are at your worst, well when that happens I cant drive, cant walk , really cant get out of bed. So here I sit trying to make an informed decision when nobody really wants to make one. As a Veterinary Technician I understand the importance of lab work , but I also know that sometimes it is just not telling the whole story. Thank you for letting me rant I needed this today now I can get on with my day raising my 10 year old grandsons they are tiresome lol I hope everyone has a low pain day

    1. says: Karen Howard

      Sherry Blanchard. Hi. I ust started reading these bc 1 of my daughters has fibro & I just wanted to share with you & anyone else reading the replies that there is Always Utube & WebMD for info- plus other medical sites. Utuble has a ot of topics & videos for everything. Good Luck to All & I Am Thinking You May Get Quicker Answers Going There Than Writing Here. I don’t have that but I understand it can be very painful & have had other things & can feel for your frustration.The Not Knowing Can Really Suck- bc you can’t plan if you have no idea what you are really dealing with. I always say- be an active participant in your own healthcare – do not just sit & ignore things- look it up online or get a book. Ask Questions, but Don’t just give up – when you can’t get answers from Websites or Drs. You may just save your own life!

  4. says: JANIS

    I have fibromyalgia I would like people to know I get severe headaches with no warning,feels like someone hit me in the head with baseball bat,when they come on my vision gets blurry and im folded overin pain but I have discover with much research cbd hemp oil really works well,i have relief for headaches in about 2 minutes.this stuff is great!!!! I find stretching and avoiding stress,along with chiropratic care can keep it under control.

    1. says: Billie

      With all the things I have learned about fibromyalgia and lupus, I think I’ve had this most of my life from childhood to now. In Oklahoma where I’m from there are very little or no physicans who know or want to hear about these conditions. In the 90s I started trying to find out what was wrong with me. The answers were from all in my mind to I didn’t have any thing wrong with me.
      Doctors do not know how to treat people with these and so they do nothing.

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