ORLANDO, Fla (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are two mysterious and debilitating conditions – and they’re often confused with each other. Now, Ivanhoe explains the symptoms of both disorders so you can tell them apart.
Tiredness, pain, trouble concentrating, and sleeping difficulties are symptoms of both chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. So how can you tell the two conditions apart? First: recognize that while signs may overlap, the signature symptom of fibromyalgia is pain!
Erik Hiester, DO, Concierge Medicine says, “The pain is often described as an ache or a burning type of sensation.”
And, people with fibromyalgia commonly experience the discomfort in areas of the body called tender points.
Hiester, DO, explains, “Tender points are typically located on both sides of the body, often times at the head, the neck, shoulders, elbows, lower extremities, and upper extremities.”
When it comes to chronic fatigue syndrome, fatigue is the key symptom that sets it apart. Typically, people with this condition report fatigue that worsens with activity and doesn’t improve after resting.
When it comes to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, it’s important to get a correct diagnosis, so you can start on the proper treatments. There are three FDA approved drugs for fibromyalgia and none for chronic fatigue syndrome – although some meds are used off-label to treat symptoms of chronic fatigue. With both conditions, it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and stay active. Finding a doctor who specializes in treating these illnesses can also be beneficial. Helping you sort out the differences between fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.
There are no widely accepted tests used to diagnose either fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue, so doctors typically rely on listening to patients describe their symptoms.
Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.
FIBROMYALGIA OR CHRONIC FATIGUE?
BACKGROUND: Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue are independent conditions, but their symptoms frequently overlap one another and tremendously impact a person’s daily life and well-being. Fibromyalgia is described as widespread musculoskeletal pain, tenderness, and stiffness, often followed by fatigue and sleep disturbances. The pain experienced by individuals with fibromyalgia is not specific to a certain area, it tends to permeate multiple locations throughout the body. Fibromyalgia is typically tied to heightened sensitivity to touch, pressure, and temperature – this is known as hyperalgesia. In contrast, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), primarily consists of an overwhelming and persistent fatigue that sufficient rest can’t alleviate. This fatigue is typically described as a deep overpowering exhaustion, one that leads to a significant reduction in the individual’s activity levels and overall functioning.
CAUSES AND DIAGNOSIS: Diagnosing fibromyalgia and CFS can be difficult for doctors due to the complexity and overlapping symptoms these conditions display. To diagnose fibromyalgia, physicians rely on the presence of widespread musculoskeletal pain and tenderness across the body. Also, they consider the patient’s medical history, symptoms, and the exclusion of other potential underlying conditions that have similar symptoms. There are no specific laboratory tests or imaging studies for fibromyalgia, which makes the diagnosis strictly based on a clinical opinion. Diagnosing chronic fatigue syndrome involves a similar approach. If the individual has had persistent unexplainable fatigue lasting for at least six months, along with other symptoms like muscle pain, cognitive difficulties, and unrefreshing sleep – a physician will classify them as having CFS. They also exclude other medical conditions that could pass for CFS by conducting a thorough medical evaluation and performing diagnostic tests.
NEW RESEARCH FOR TREATMENT: NeuroMetrix has released a wearable neuromodulation device with the intent to alleviate chronic pain. The Quell device is worn as an elastic cuff that wraps around one’s upper calf. Attached to the cuff are electrodes that ignite the sensory nerves and deposit pain relief to the body. A clinical study of the device was administered, and nearly 60% of the individuals who received three months of treatment reported that their quality of life had improved. The FDA acknowledged the Quell device as a potential fibromyalgia treatment in late 2021. In early 2022, it was given a “breakthrough label” for its possibility to ease the symptoms of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy as well.
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