Chronic Fatigue Syndrome vs Fibromyalgia: Know More

Written by: Shruthi Chacko – M Sc
(Psychology)

Last updated date : March 28, 2022

Are you feeling tired very often? Are you in a lot of physical pain? It can be hard for some people to get out of bed due to chronic pain, anxiety or sleep problems. It is scary to have any disease. But, having Fibromyalgia or Chronic fatigue can cause more fear and confusion. Many doctors claim that the cause of these conditions is not entirely known. Moreover, people who suffer from these diseases feel like they are always on the flu. Can you imagine what that must feel like? In fact, it is said that even doctors can’t seem to fully understand the cause of it. Let us try to explore more about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome vs Fibromyalgia.

Chapter 1:
What Is Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Let us look at Fibromyalgia. It is a long term condition that causes the following:
  • Extreme pain in the joints and muscles
  • Feeling tenderness in some areas of the body
  • Feeling fatigue
  • Disturbances in sleep
  • Flu like symtoms (Sore throat and slight fever)
This condition can be hard to guess, even for health professionals. The symptoms are very similar to other conditions. Also, there are no real tests to diagnose this condition. Therefore, fibromyalgia is often misdiagnosed. In fact, in the past, some health care professionals even denied that this condition was real. However, now the condition is much better understood. The stigma around has reduced too. Therefore, both Fibromyalgia and Chronic fatigue are conditions that are hard to treat. But, lifestyle changes, medication and therapy can help improve the quality of life and ease the symptoms. Let us have a look at Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It is a condition that causes:
  • Extreme tiredness and fatigue
  • Problems with memory and concentration
  • Sore throat
  • Headaches
  • Feeling Dizzy
  • Lack of refreshment after sleep
The causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is not fully known. It is said that psychological stress, viral infections and various other factors contribute to it. This condition can affect anyone. However, it is most commonly seen among women during their middle adulthood. There is a proper cure for this condition in the medical world. But, with making changes to one’s lifestyle, undergoing therapy and taking medications. Now, let us now look at Chronic Fatigue Syndrome vs Fibromyalgia. Are you wondering if a person can have both of these conditions at the same? Do you wonder if they are related to each other ? or are they completely different? Keep reading this article to know more about these questions.
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Chapter 2:
Can You Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia at the Same Time?

The answer is yes, you can have both these conditions at the same time. In fact, a lot of people do. Both these conditions are quite related to each other. The symptoms are very similar, which makes it difficult to tell if you only have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia or both. However, it is important to remember that they are not the same conditions. The treatments are similar for both conditions.

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Chapter 3:
Few Things to Keep In Mind if You Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia

These are a few important reminders to keep in your mind if you are suffering from either of these conditions. In fact, people don’t often take this condition seriously in the beginning. The person suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome says the following “If I knew then what I know now, I would have rested more/sooner before permanent damage was done”. Hence, these few tips if you are newly diagnosed with either of these conditions:

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Chapter 4:
Things to Keep In Mind

These few things will help you with your journey with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia. Keep reading to know more about it.

Take it Seriously

First of all, don’t take these diseases lightly. They can be life-threatening if not kept under check. Do not think it is a condition that you can keep aside or believe it will magically disappear. Did you know people suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia have a lower quality of life? In fact, studies show that people suffering from these conditions are a lower life expectancy than people with stroke, schizophrenia, cancer and renal failure. Hence, it is not something to take casually. You need to focus on your health, by having a healthy lifestyle.

Pace Yourself

Perhaps the most important tip is to pace yourself. Give yourself time and energy. You do not have to rush. Remember to pace yourself both physically and mentally. Try to calm your mind and body to give it time to heal. Many people suffering from these diseases in retrospect realise that they were being hard on themselves. There are many support groups, courses online to have a better understanding to manage these diseases. There is a book that can help you out by Bruce Campbell ” Managing Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia; Feel Better, Take Charge, Regain Hope”. Hence, take it slow and be kind to yourself.

Keep a Track of your Symptoms

It is helpful to keep a track of the symptoms. Specifically, your diet, your supplements, your activity levels, your sleep etc. This can help you to keep check of your health and notice your improvements than help your health. There are quite many tracking apps that can help make this step easier. There are plenty of resources online. It is best recommended for you to take help from a health care professional.

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Chapter 5:
Ways to Cope up With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia

It can be hard on the person suffering from these diseases. One must find healthy coping strategies to help tackle the situations. It can be difficult but you can get through this hard time. Let’s take a look at Chronic Fatigue Syndrome vs Fibromyalgia’ ways of coping. Here are a few tips that may help you with your journey.

Accepting Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia

It is better if you start accepting your disease. It is true that most people recover from it. Don’t be disappointed if you do not get a full cure from it. Instead, try to accept the reality that there is no proper cure for these two diseases. In fact, it can be hard to accept the reality of this disease. Stop trying to fix things that are out of your control. Instead, try to accept your condition and find new ways in which you can enjoy yourself.

Let go of Unhelpful Relationships

If these people do not believe in your condition or do not try to understand what you are going through. Let these people go for your good. You will feel better energy around you. In fact, you become closer to accepting your reality. Let go of any abusive relationships, they are not worth your energy and mental peace. These diseases can have a huge impact on relationships. Additionally, you do not need to go through the mental and emotional strain of being in an abusive relationship.

Know when to Ask Help

It can be hard to ask for help when you were always the one who gives help. But, now your body needs rest and time to recover. It is okay to ask for help from people around you. In fact, it may ask help with grocery shopping, mowing the lawn or giving you a ride to the doctor’s appointment. People who care about you want you to get better. They are willing to give you help when you need it. Do not hesitate to ask for quick help around, this does not make you selfish.

Take a Break and Relax

Having this disease does not mean anything is wrong with you. It does not mean you are damaged or defective. It simply means that your body is undergoing some trouble. Rather, it means that now is the time for you to show some love and attention to your body. Do not beat yourself up for your body getting sick. You can start accepting your disease only when you stop feeling sorry for yourself.

Understand that your family maybe unable to meet your emotional needs

If you feel like your family is unable to give you the emotional support that you desire. Try to remember to be easy on them and have compassion for them. They are trying to make sense of your disease too, they are trying their best to be there for you. Therefore, in such situations, you can look for support groups or even find online forums. However, the best step you can take is to meet a mental health professional who can help you adjust.

Meet a Doctor

This is very crucial. Try to find a doctor with having specialisation in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia. As the treatment of these diseases can be hard to crack. It can be hard for doctors to help you. Try not to be disappointed with that. Also, being open to alternative treatment options such as Ayurveda, Acupuncture along with maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help you with your healing.

You may find it interesting to read ” How I Beat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?” to learn more about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Vs Fibromyalgia and how you can feel more energised and less tired.