Differentiating Some Causes of Chronic Pain in Women

My grandmother and I were chatting about different chronic pain disorders that exist in women. Here is a very brief overview of three common conditions, highlighting their differences and unique symptoms. All present with muscle pain and more often in women. 

- often presents in younger women (less than 40)
- point tenderness over affected muscles 
- tender points in various locations on the body (11-18 tender points total)
- anxiety and stress exacerbate the pain 
- often associated with depression and chronic fatigue syndrome
- often normal laboratory values
- may be due to mitochondrial dysfunction, though many hypotheses exist

- often presents in women aged 40-60 
- weakness, stiffness, and inflammation of proximal muscles 
- severe pain and stiffness felt in pectoral and pelvic girdles 
- may have difficulty swallowing, lung disease, and thickening of skin
- elevated ESR and CPK laboratory test values 
- anti-jo antibodies found

Polymyalgia Rheumatica
 - often presents in women older than age 50 
- severe pain and stiffness felt in hip, neck, pelvis, shoulder
- inflammation seen in many muscles
- temporal arteritis can also present
- "gelling phenomenon" experienced (stiffness after inactivity) 
- elevated ESR and CRP laboratory test values

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