The Ministry of Lisa Copen

Lisa Copen, Founder of Rest Ministries which serves the chronically ill, shares about mothering, illness, ministry and more.

Is Fibromyalgia a Spectrum of Conditions?

flower3As someone who lives with fibromyalgia, it is my secondary illness. This means I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis a few years before fibromyalgia and for me, if my RA is under “control”, the FM isn’t as bad. If my RA is flaring like mad, my whole body aches and a good portion of it is the fibromyaglia.

Last winter when I had a bad cough for a few weeks it was the fibromyalgia that was the worst part. In the midst of a deep RA flare, the cough tighened my chest and abdominal muscles and the fibromyalgia made each breath excruciating.

The Fibromyalgia Spectrum – Part of the Big Picture in Understanding Fibromyalgia is an excellent article over at that I recommend reading if you have fibromyalgia or know someone who does. The author is Dr. Pellegrino and it is an excerpt from his  popular book, Fibromyalgia: Up Close and Personal. (Note: I’ve not read the book and so this isn’t a recommendation, just information.)

Dr. Pellegrino has seen more than 20,000 FM patients in his practice at the Ohio Rehab Center, but perhaps his greatest credential is that he has been a fibromyalgia patient himself since childhood.

He explains that there are “Eight Subsets of the Fibromyalgia Spectrum” and what they are. One is actually “Subset 8: Secondary Fibromyalgia Reactive to Disease” which is what one alternative medicine doctor told me once and I’ve never heard said by another doctor since.

He explains, “Individuals in this category have secondary Fibromyalgia. They have a primary disease (for example lupus, rheumatoid arthritis) – and Fibromyalgia developed as a result of this disease. People in this subset probably wouldn’t have Fibromyalgia if they never had the primary disease. The primary disease requires treatment, and Fibromyalgia may improve with this treatment. However, the Fibromyalgia often requires its own treatment, and can continue to be a major problem even when the primary disease is treated or is in remission.”

Wow! Validation. What a concept!

He writes in the article/book:

Today I’m convinced Fibromyalgia is indeed a “broader” condition with various subsets. I believe this information is helpful in explaining why everyone’s symptoms are different even though they all have Fibromyalgia. This chapter addresses how the Fibromyalgia spectrum is part of the big picture in understanding Fibromyalgia.

>I encourage you to read more

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1 Comment»

  tallison65 wrote @

I am SO glad I found your blog! I have fibromyalgia and arthritis and neuropathy (diabetic) I am going to print the article above and take it to my Dr. (He is one of the rare ones that keep up on Fibro. Great reading, I will be visitng often 🙂

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