Cervical (neck) disc disease can mimic or cause Fibromyalgic symptoms. Certain porportion of post whiplash “Fibromylagia” will fit here.
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Dr. Smythe for Univeristy of Toronto wrote in 2005 about the C5-6 and C6-7 syndromes – subtle radiculitis (neck sciatica – nerve root irritation) that can activate multipe triggers in the upper body and give the illusion of fibromyalagia. Please see writeup here
A potentially reliable sign of this, I recently discovered, was anterior cervical pain. Dr. John McFadden investigated 200 cases of patients with neck pain and widespread pain “Fibromyalgia”. He found localized tenderness in the anterolateral cervical (neck) spine. When he xrayed the cases to see where the tenderness was, the xray marker was on the disc at that level:
Fibromyalgia of Intervertebral Disc Origin: A Report of 200 Cases
further article here
Comment – He says to palpate upper disc levels and use that as a baseline for tenderness in comparison for lower levels. The tender areas are covered by the scalene muscles and I have found it helpful to take the tenderness out of them using functional release (counterstrain) before concluding the pain is of disc origin:
Head flexed and perhaps slightly sidebent to same side. Find position where less than 25% usual pain. If you hold in that position for 90 seconds, pains should temporarily remit from that spot in muscle. Then you can tell how much is pain on dics/vertebral body.
If pain seems of discogenic origin, then cervical steroid epidural (which can be greatly augmented by later local etanercept injection) would be beneficial. I have previously discussed that, as well as an inflatable cervical traction device that gives beneficial neck traction for disc disease.
Anyone with experience with this mis-diagnosis?