Do You Have Fibromyalgia or Lupus? That is the Question

lupus, chiropractor for fibromyalgia in Carmel

In this article, Dr. Tymothy Flory, a NUCCA board-certified chiropractor for fibromyalgia in Carmel, Indiana, will help us deep dive into what makes fibromyalgia and lupus similar and different at the same time. He will also let us in on a natural method of easing symptoms and possibly preventing the recurrence of fibromyalgia.


Quick Facts and Statistics

  • Recent studies show that at least 1.9 million of the world’s population has fibromyalgia, while 5 million have lupus. (Lupus News Today, GlobeNewswire and Link Springer)
  • About two-thirds of the cases of each disorder have been initially misdiagnosed. (Johns Hopkins Lupus Center and Integrative Practitioner, Science Daily)
  • More women are affected by these two disorders than men.


Fibromyalgia vs. Lupus: How To Tell Them Apart

It's not surprising that a lot of people often find it difficult to differentiate these two conditions, as lupus and fibromyalgia share a number of similar symptoms. Based on his experience as a chiropractor for fibromyalgia in Carmel, Dr. Flory has had clients who come to him extremely confused about these two disorders, but he helped them distinguish the two.

Indeed, both conditions are characterized by widespread chronic pain. However, the main difference is that lupus is an inflammatory autoimmune disease that affects different body organs, posing life-threatening complications or even death if left uncontrolled, while fibromyalgia is neither inflammatory nor life-threatening.


Fibromyalgia comes from the Latin word - fibro (fibrous), and Greek terms - myo (muscle) and algia (pain). Thus, it literally means “muscle and fibrous connective tissue pain.” This multisite musculoskeletal disorder radiates pain throughout the body without demonstrating any visible swelling.

Some symptoms specific to fibromyalgia patients are; difficulty focusing, recollection, other cognitive difficulties, irritable bowel syndrome, and insomnia.


Lupus is a word of Latin origin that means “wolf” and was coined by the 13th-century physician, Rogerius after noticing thick facial lesions that resemble a wolf’s bite on his Lupus patients’ faces.

Symptoms specific to lupus are; difficulty breathing, tissue inflammation, rashes in the face, and other body parts that could lead to severe skin lesions or abrasions. The inflammation in severe lupus conditions causes the failure of some of the body’s vital organs, such as the heart, lungs, and kidney, above many others, leading to fatal complications.

In severe lupus conditions, organ inflammations often lead to failure of the body’s vital organs, such as the heart, lungs, and kidneys, above many others.



The causes of these two disorders are unclear, but with lupus, your genes play a significant role in the probability of acquiring or triggering it. While with fibromyalgia, viral infections, or any emotional or physical trauma in your musculoskeletal system can ignite the disorder.


Shared Symptoms

The common denominator of lupus and fibromyalgia is the pain that spreads all over the body, inducing joint and muscle aches, headaches, and skin rash. People with lupus and fibromyalgia do not experience pain all the time; they also have good days, but these can get cut short by various emotional and physical stressors like stress, anxiety, or fatigue.

One possible reason for the shared symptoms between these two is the fact that fibromyalgia can occur as secondary to various disorders in the connective tissues, such as lupus. Simply put, people with lupus are susceptible to acquiring fibromyalgia. However, fibromyalgia patients are not likely to develop lupus.



Due to their many similar symptoms, diagnosing lupus and fibromyalgia can be tricky because there is no definitive test for either, and one can occur with the other. Nevertheless, it is not impossible.

With lupus, a combination of body scans, physical, urine, and blood tests allow medical experts to prognosticate the possibility and then perform a thorough comparison of the results with the patient’s health history and symptoms in order to rule out other similar conditions.

As for fibromyalgia, there is no lab or imaging test available for a definite diagnosis, but there is a physical test that checks the patient’s pain tolerance in eighteen specific tender points on the body. These particular points are targeted as they are the areas where fibromyalgia pain is most intense. However, a patient needs to undergo a series of other tests, and this is not the official diagnostic test to confirm or rule out fibromyalgia. 


Fibromyalgia Care

Although lupus and fibromyalgia share a lot of similar symptoms, their solutions are very different. Lupus care focuses on pain management and reduction of inflammation, while pain reduction and enhancement of sleep quality are the goals for fibromyalgia.

Less severe cases of these conditions are manageable with over-the-counter medicines, but the more it progresses, especially with lupus, stronger and more potent medications are administered.

On top of prescription drugs, patients can also take counseling or physical and occupational therapies to improve their overall wellbeing while battling such weakening illnesses. However, the best therapy a patient with fibromyalgia can get would be upper cervical chiropractic care. As fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal disorder, chiropractors can help a great deal in relieving pain and preventing frequent episodes by realigning the patient’s musculoskeletal system and possibly eliminating major triggers of the illness.


See a NUCCA Certified Chiropractor for Fibromyalgia in Carmel

If you feel yourself suffering from body-wide pains but are unsure what the problem is, let us help you. Visit Atlas Spinal Care and our team will help you pinpoint your problem and recommend the best care plan for you.We are located at Suite 35 12289 Hancock Street, Carmel, Indiana, and are open every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm. You can also book an appointment through our online form, and we will get back to you as soon as possible!


To schedule a consultation with Dr. Flory, call our Carmel office at 463-223-8227. You can also click the button below.

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