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Understanding Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Updated on July 30, 2013

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is usually unnoticed since the symptoms of this condition are the same to a lot of other illnesses. Fatigue for one is actually a symptom for a lot of diseases. By taking a closer look at the symptoms, you will be able to notice things that can distinguish other illnesses from chronic fatigue syndrome.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and its Symptoms

Symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome may last for more than 6 months. It is recommended to immediately consult with your doctor if you have been experiencing any three of the listed symptoms below:

  • Life-threatening sickness and tiredness or “increased malaise” are often felt. You will be feeling physically and emotionally unwell. Malaise is caused by either psychological or emotional conflicts that include stress, fatigue and depression.
  • Sleep problems
  • Difficulty to focus on things
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain
  • Sore throat
  • “Brain fog”, the feeling of being vague or dreamy is also usually felt. Chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers often feel spaced out and lightheaded.
  • Balance problem and difficulty to maintain positions
  • Bowel disturbance - a disorder, which leads to stomach constriction and abdominal pain.
  • Sweaty night and apprehensions
  • Mood swings
  • Light sensitivity

The rigorousness of chronic fatigue syndrome differs from every patient. This syndrome is quite difficult to diagnose because there are no current tests for it. The doctors have to rule out other conditions before they can diagnose the condition as chronic fatigue syndrome. When failed to diagnose early, this condition can last for years.

A lot of chronic fatigue syndrome patients may perform normally and get on with their house chores or their works, yet they often feel oddly worn-out after they do the activities. When this happens, they have to “cut down” certain activities to help save their energy. On some occasions, other patients with chronic fatigue syndrome have problems doing their “usually normal” activities. Those whom that are greatly affected by chronic fatigue syndrome may not be able to get out of bed, eat or even bathe alone. Furthermore, chronic fatigue syndrome causes depression.

Talking to your doctor to learn ways to keep you off the unbearable pains of chronic fatigue syndrome is always the best thing to do since treatment is for symptomatic relief. Medications should also be coupled with home remedies and lifestyle changes to ensure that the condition will not progress to a worst-case scenario. Alternative medicines such as herbs and special oils to alleviate the symptoms of CFS can also be used.

It’s hard to reconcile with the fact that you are suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome; however, there are some ways to make the most of your situation. The symptoms of CFS are different from one person to another. Hence, the treatment approach is also different. It takes expertise and experience from a physician to draft the treatment plan for CFS.

Joining support groups can also provide an anchor for your emotions, provided that you are willing to meet people who are also going through the same situation as you are. However, if you don’t feel up to it, then refrain from joining support groups so as not to add stress to your suffering.

Does chronic pain and fatigue indicate fibromyalgia?

If you have been dealing with chronic pain and fatigue, it does not necessarily indicate that you have fibromyalgia. To become a fibro qualified patient you need to have:

  • Pain in the four quadrants of the body;
  • Tender points in the 11 areas out of 18 throughout the body

How is fatigue described in fibromyalgia?

Fatigue means terrible overbearing exhaustion that tends to drain a patient and cripple him mentally and socially. Fatigue is experienced even after the patient has risen up from an endless bed rest. Sleep disturbances tend to make the situation worse for the patient as it increases the level of fatigue and diminishes peaceful and deep sleep.

The level of chronic pain in fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia pain is identified by its widespread nature. Your body aches all over and you suffer from morning stiffness. Sitting or resting in one position also brings about muscle stiffness. Fibromyalgia pain rules over your body and makes you feel sore. Muscles twitch and feel like they have run a marathon even though you have not exercised at all. Some fibro sufferers feel a sharp jabbing pain in the tender points at the mildest application of pressure.
This chronic fibromyalgia pain tends to get worse as the length of time increases. For some people, treatment alternatives tend to reduce the fibro pain, while in others, there are no changes in the intensity of the pain waves.

The intense chronic fibro pain constitutes for the sleep disorders in fibro patients. Lack of sleep and fatigue initiates headaches, migraines, anxiety and depression.

Fibromyalgia symptoms tend to run in a cycle. Only by addressing the first problem in the cycle can you manage to treat the next!

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Treatments for CFS


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