Sciatica Pain Vs. Fibromyalgia Pain: What Are The Differences?

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Ask the experts

I'm a 23-year-old female. My doctor told me a year ago that I had sciatic nerve inflammation, but nothing he seemed to try and do for me has worked. The pains are getting much worse. I've noticed especially in the mornings, it feels like all of the muscles in my body are sore. It usually takes a couple of hours to feel normal again. Here the past couple of weeks I've noticed that I'm having more difficulty getting up and walking. I walk like I'm 100 years old and I may have only been sitting for 10 minutes. Last November my doctor also diagnosed me with IBS. I recently read an article on fibromyalgia and I think I seem to have all the symptoms for it. At first, I didn't think so until I saw that IBS is a symptom of fibromyalgia. Could there be a chance do have fibromyalgia? And if so, what should be the first step I take? Would any lab work I have done show anything? Thank you.

Doctor's response

The pain of sciatica is very different from the pain of fibromyalgia. Sciatica is a pain that radiates along the distribution of the sciatic nerve of the lower extremity. Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized by tender points in the soft tissues, particularly in the upper back and neck.

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Reviewed on 1/11/2018