Is Fibromyalgia Pain Different From Chronic Pain?

Is Fibromyalgia Pain Different From Chronic Pain?
Fibromyalgia pain differs from general chronic widespread pain in many ways. Fibromyalgia pain is not only characterized by its widespread musculoskeletal pain, but the fatigue, cognitive difficulties and other symptoms it causes (i.e. headaches, depression, restless leg syndrome, etc.). Chronic widespread pain is usually defined as pain that remains active for more than 12 weeks, and it can be mild or severe, episodic or continuous, a minor inconvenience or completely debilitating.

A chronic pain condition of any kind can be burdensome and create serious negative impacts on a patients life. Nevertheless, a recent study lead by researchers at Covance Market Access Services found that although both conditions (fibromyalgia and chronic widespread pain) cause significant physical, emotional and mental damage, one may be more troublesome than the other.

The team examined 472 patients, 171 with fibromyalgia pain and 176 with chronic widespread pain. Each participant was asked to complete screenings to measure their pain, health status, functioning, sleep, productivity, costs and healthcare resource use. Participants were also examined by a physician. The results can be seen below:

  • Pain severity, interference with function and overall work impairment was highest with fibromyalgia patients.
  • Health status and sleep outcomes were the lowest with fibromyalgia patients as well.
  • More patients with fibromyalgia pain reported taking more pain medication to manage symptoms compared to chronic widespread pain patients.
  • The highest direct and indirect medical costs were seen among fibromyalgia patients.

The bottom line: if you’re living with chronic pain and it is severely impacting your quality of life, call one of our Southwest Spine and Pain Center locations! The leaders of Utah pain management are dedicated to providing patients with the best care possible. Call to set up an appointment with one of our providers today!


  • Chronic pain is typically defined as pain that lasts more than 12 weeks. Fibromyalgia on the other hand, is considered a chronic condition that causes widespread muscle pain and tenderness.
  • The two terms are often used interchangeably, even though both cause different kinds of pain, and one may instill a larger burden on quality of life.
  • The pain management specialists at Southwest Spine and Pain Center discuss whether or not fibromyalgia pain is different from chronic pain.

If chronic pain is keeping you from doing the things you want, it's time to schedule an appointment at Southwest Spine and Pain Center. With multiple locations across the state of Utah, the pain management specialists at Southwest Spine and Pain Center are dedicated to helping those who suffer from chronic pain live the life they want to. To schedule an appointment, click here!

The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician's advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.