Hi. Just to add a bit to what Yalinda said. Fibromyalgia refers to the large muscles, not the joints, like RA. It concentrated on the soft tissues instead of the harder joints. That being said, I think it's difficult to tell the difference because joint pain is often referred to the muscles. For example, I have RA (positive rf to support it), but the disease has not majorly attacked my hands so much as my hips and shoulders. The pain in my shoulders, however, is often referred to my upper arms so it feels like a metal vise is squeezing my upper arms, or like I've been weight lifting all day (yeah, right :)) Rheumy said it was referred pain from the joints, though. I think rheumys can often tell the difference just from the physical exam. If they can detect swelling (that is not visible to the human eye), they're more likely to dx RA (especially if rf is present in blood). In the absence of any physical findings, including labwork, fibromyalgia may be the dx.
Current dx: Rheumatoid Arthritis
Suspected dx: UCTD/Early Lupus
Current Meds: Enbrel, Plaquenil, Aciphex, Ultracet, Zyrtec, Allavert-D, Zantac, Tylenol PM
Past Meds: Relafen, Vioxx, Mobic, Voltaren, Sulfasalazine, Entocort, Prednisone, Humira, Reglan