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Provided by MedicineNet
Provided by MedicineNet

Provided by MedicineNet

How Are Fibromyalgia Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Linked?**

Is it true that if you are diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome follows? Well, these two conditions are classed as separate disorders but there does appear to be an overlap between the two.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder, with the pain symptom being widespread musculoskeletal pain and the presence of multiple tender points. There are 18 specific tender points and doctors will usually look for the patient to express pain for at least 11 when pressed using mild force. , They can be found in the areas near the neck, spine, shoulders, hips, knees and elbows. Fibromyalgia patients also exhibit a myriad of other symptoms, with the most common being sleep disorders, morning stiffness, fatigue, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, depression and anxiety.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is also a chronic disorder, which is also known as chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS), or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). People with CFS feel a persistent fatigue that does not improve with rest. They will feel tired immediately even if they were just doing ordinary and normal activities. They can feel exhausted for no apparent reason and be housebound or bed-bound for long periods of time.

Studies have indicated that about 80 percent of patients diagnosed with CFS were observed to have an overlapping diagnosis of fibromyalgia. There is some speculation that because of this close relationship fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are actually part of a wider spectrum of disorders and therefore are linked.

When treating fibromyalgia, doctors and experts recommend having a holistic approach. Treatment programs for fibromyalgia are not piece-meal processes. Everyone involved should be an active player. The patients, the doctors, the therapists, and the family and friends should play active roles in the treatment programs. The support group of patients with fibromyalgia should be as strong as their will power will need to be to recover from their condition.

There are a number of treatment programs that patients can adopt that reduce symptoms. For one, low impact aerobic exercises have shown to have positive impacts, with fibromyalgia patients reporting reduced pain and improved sleep. These exercises include swimming and walking both of which targets the muscles making them more fit which reduces muscle pain and tenderness. Exercise also releases certain hormones and chemicals that can block pain receptors and boost the immune system.

Other forms of treatment for fibromyalgia include heat and massage therapies. These help to increase the blood flow to the muscles to encourage healing. Medications are also available and include painkillers, antidepressant medications for elevating moods, sleep drugs and muscle relaxants. However the best results seem to come from patients who use a combination of medication, exercise, diet modifications, physical therapy, and meditation and relaxation in their fibromyalgia treatment programs.

Treating chronic fatigue syndrome uses similar methods to the fibromyalgia treatments. It has been observed that patients with the condition are also more likely to improve their condition if they use an integrated treatment approach in their programs.

As symptoms and severity can vary so much from patient to patient, doctors will normally try to address the worse symptoms first. There are medicines that can target sleeping problems, cognitive difficulties and pain, however CFS patients are often sensitive to these so dosages are normally lowered.

Herbal treatments are an option and although your doctor won’t prescribe these, anecdotally CFS sufferers have experienced significant improvements.

You should be aware however, that herbal treatments can inter-react with other medicines and you should seek medical advice before taking anything.

Amending your diet to remove caffeine, refined sugar, and alcohol is also recommended as many CFS sufferers report sensitivities to these products. If you smoke you should try and give up, if not for your lungs, but because it can make symptoms worse.

Some patients have found relief through alternative treatments like gentle massage, acupuncture and mediation. If you wish to try an alternative treatment method try to find a practitioner who has experience of CFS.

Just like fibromyalgia, medications alone don’t normally succeed in alleviating all the CFS symptoms. By combining conventional medicines with treatments like meditation or relaxation, stress management, emotional and mental health counseling, and sleep management both fibromyalgia chronic fatigue syndrome can be better managed.


**Source:  The Natural Cure to Fibromyalgia


Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Fibromyalgia*

One of the hardest things in diagnosing fibromyalgia is that symptoms are so diverse and the fact that doctors still have no idea what causes the condition. So, what are the signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia and how do you go about getting a diagnosis?

Before discussing what brings about fibromyalgia and what constitutes its diagnosis, let us first look into what fibromyalgia is.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic illness that is characterized by widespread pain that is across the whole body. People with fibromyalgia will also have sleep disturbances, which leave them feeling tired and fatigued all the time. They will also be more sensitive to pain and may even have emotional problems such as mood changes and depression.

What causes fibromyalgia?

Some believe that fibromyalgia is caused by problems in the way the brain sends out pain signals to the various receptors in the body. It seems that because of some stimulation, the brain becomes more sensitive to pain, more so than other does.

Other experts in the field say that fibromyalgia is due to problems in sleep. Rather than just a symptom of the problem, the sleep dysfunction is actually the cause. This is because people with fibromyalgia often have disturbed sleep with several moments of brain activities that are akin to the wakefulness state.

There are also some doctors who believe that injury and trauma may be the root of the problem. This trauma can be found in the upper spinal region of the body, which may in turn affect the central nervous system. Others point out to the possibility of the problem being caused by a viral or bacterial infection. This may affect the nervous system, which controls involuntary movements in the body.

Another area that is being looked into is the effect brought on by the changes in the metabolism of the muscles. Decrease in the blood flow in muscles may result to the sapping out of strength as well as fatigue and muscle pains.

Diagnosing fibromyalgia

In diagnosing fibromyalgia, several tests are often conducted to ensure diagnosis and to rule out other possibilities. This is because no single test can give you an accurate diagnosis of fibromyalgia. In fact people who are suspected to suffer from this problem usually have to go through several blood tests and x-rays. And oftentimes, these tests will come out normal.

Still, these tests are needed to rule out other problems with similar symptoms, such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, hyperthyroidism, muscle diseases, cancer or rheumatoid arthritis among others. Because of this, the American College of Rheumatology has come up with several guidelines for the classification and diagnosis of fibromyalgia.

According to them, fibromyalgia may be diagnosed if the pain that is experienced by the patient is felt in various parts of the body for a period of at least three months.

There should also be a minimum of 11 of the 18 stipulated fibromyalgia ‘tender points’ on the body that are sensitive and tender when applied mild pressure (4kg). These tender points can be found in the following places:
Backs of the upper leg
Above the buttocks
Front and back of the neck
Upper Chest

4kg of pressure is similar to the pressure needed to make the skin change color when you press on it with your finger.

If you are displaying any of the above signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia then make an appointment to see your doctor. Be prepared for your doctors to look into your medical history as to check on the tenderness and sensitivity to pain felt across several points on the body including the extremities and of course the upper body and neck. *


*Source:  The Natural Cure to Fibromyalgia

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