Fibromyalgia and CFS
People suffering chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia often say it takes years and several referrals or second opinions to arrive at a diagnosis. This situation is both inevitable, as doctors are directed to eliminate other more common causes of fatigue or pain, and problematic as the patient continues to suffer in the meantime.
Around 70% of the symptoms associated with these two debilitating conditions are shared, so how do you tell your doctor which one they should investigate?
What symptoms they have in common
Fatigue –a sense of extreme tiredness and weakness
Joint pain – although not related to an inflammatory condition
Muscle pain – again, where inflammatory causes are absent
Poor sleep – disturbed or long periods of sleep fail to refresh
Irritable Bowel Syndrome – bloating, diarrhoea, constipation
Blowing hot and cold – excessive sweating and feeling chilly
Mental fog – difficulty remembering, concentrating, organising
Sensory Hypersensitivity – light, noise and smells can be experienced more strongly.
Shooting the messenger
Try not to be frustrated with the doctor because there is no blood test for either condition and the symptom picture is extremely complex and varies from person to person. You may be asked about your emotional wellbeing, have your thyroid checked, creatinine, urea, iron levels, liver and a haematological profile taken and have to answer a great many questions about how long, how often and how widespread before a diagnosis is made.
Some people feel the labels CFS or fibromyalgia are slapped on after everything else has been eliminated and to an extent that is true but there are more everyday causes of many of the symptoms, and it is logical to look at these first.
Symptoms that apply only to fibromyalgia
Trigger points: applying pressure to these tender areas (which are used to help diagnose fibromyalgia and include the base of the skull, inside of the knee, the hip joint, elbow and around the shoulder blades) will cause pain to shoot to another part of the body.
Itchy or burning skin, including that over the painful joints and headaches resulting from the muscle tension in the neck and upper back are indicative of fibromyalgia.
Symptoms that apply only to chronic fatigue syndrome
Knotted muscles are tender to the touch but don’t necessarily cause shooting pains. Sore throat, and swelling of the lymph glands but without infection, depression, irritability and panic attacks, extreme crashes in energy, recovery from exercise that takes many days to several weeks, palpitations where no cardiac condition is present and a definite timeframe from which all this began, such as after a virus or emotional trauma. Many people with CFS can strongly identify an event that preceded the onset of symptoms.
Natural remedies for both
As each condition is experienced differently by each person, making broad remedy recommendations should be regarded as merely a starting point, or foundation on which to add techniques, exercises or therapies according to the individual’s underlying causes and symptom pattern. With that in mind, here’s a starting place for each which takes into account the core experiences of most:
Atrogel® (Arnica), Atrosan® (Devil's Claw), Magnesium, Fish Oils and Dormeasan®.
Follow the link to read my dietary advice for fibromyalgia.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Ginsavena (Siberian Ginseng & Avena sativa), Magnesium, Digestisan or bitters (to help extract the most nutrition from your food) and Dormeasan® (sleep remedy).
Please click on the link under dietary recommendations for fibromyalgia, as most of the guidance contained will help maintain blood sugar control, regular bowel function and all round good nutrition.