Fibromyalgia causes chronic pain that seems to affect the entire body. Obviously, this can include the legs. But people with fibromyalgia may also experience leg pain that seems to be more intense, or maybe simply different, from their fibromyalgia pain. This sort of leg pain can sometimes be an indication of serious medical problems, so it’s always a good idea to take it seriously.
So, how can you tell the difference between the leg pain caused by fibromyalgia and the leg pain caused by other conditions? Let’s look at some of the conditions that can cause leg pain that you should be aware of and how you can distinguish it from the pain of fibromyalgia.
What Causes Leg Pain?
Leg pain is a somewhat vague symptom, and there are many different conditions that can cause it. The most common conditions are usually things like muscle cramping or tendonitis, when the tendons connecting the muscles in the leg become inflamed.
If the pain is located in the knee, there’s also the possibility that you’re suffering from arthritis, where the lining of the joints becomes inflamed and tender. Or it could be bursitis, which is caused by inflammation of the small, fluid-filled sacks that cushion the bones, joints, and muscles. While painful, neither condition is dangerous and can be managed with a doctor’s help.
But there are also a few serious conditions that you should be aware of. Depending on how severe your pain is, it may be a symptom of a condition like thrombophlebitis. Thrombophlebitis occurs when a blood clot forms in one of the veins in your leg. This clot cuts off the circulation into the leg and starves the tissue of blood.
This condition results in tenderness and pain in the affected area. The leg may also begin to swell and feel warm to the touch. Over time, these blood clots can cause serious health problems. If the clot dislodges itself from the vein and travels up into the circulatory system, it can enter the lungs, causing a life-threatening embolism.
And people who suffer from thrombophlebitis can develop a condition called post-phlebitic syndrome, which causes agonizing, chronic pain in the affected area. If you’ve already had a blood clot and are experiencing pain afterward, this may be the cause.
In addition, leg pain can be a symptom of bone cancer. This condition occurs when tumors develop inside the bones and lead to pain, weight loss, swelling of the affected area, and fatigue. Like all cancers, it can be life-threatening. So, if you’re experiencing serious pain, you should see a doctor.
Is It Normal To Have Leg Pain With Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia causes pain in 18 specific tender points around the body. There are two points in the lower back and two in the knees. The pain of fibromyalgia seems to radiate out of these points, so it’s normal when they give you the feeling that your legs are hurting.
The easiest way to distinguish leg pain from other causes from the leg pain of fibromyalgia is to press your thumb on the inside of the knee. These are where the tender points are located, and if your pain seems to spike when you press down, that’s a good indication that the problem is fibromyalgia.
But that’s not always a foolproof way to tell. If you’re suffering from a condition like arthritis, then the knees will be tender as well. If it seems like the pain is worse in the morning, or that your joints feel stiff, then it’s more likely to be arthritis.
If the pain is located in the muscles rather than those tender points, then you are probably suffering from another condition. If the pain is intense, or the legs begin to swell, you should see a doctor right away. These are signs of some of the more serious conditions we discussed.
But Fibromyalgia can also cause some other unpleasant symptoms in the legs. Many patients with fibromyalgia report feeling muscle weakness in the limbs. We don’t yet know why this is, but it could have something to do with the way fibromyalgia affects the nervous system. This muscle weakness can range from moderate to severe. And if you’re experiencing symptoms that are closer to weakness than pain, then it is likely a result of fibromyalgia.
Ultimately, leg pain is an unfortunate part of fibromyalgia for many people. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have your pain checked out by a doctor. It’s always better to be safe when it comes to pain anywhere in the body.
So, have you experienced pain in the legs? Is it related to fibromyalgia or something else?