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BellaOnline's Fibromyalgia and CFS Editor

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Fatigue in Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS


Fatigue is one of the most common health complaints in America, and one of the major symptoms of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Fatigue can have a debilitating effect on your life, preventing you from living your life to the full. It affects our quality of life. So, how can you overcome this symptom? Well, let's examine the fatigue experienced by fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome patients.

Fatigue in Fibromyalgia can range from mild to debilitating. Many experience muscle fatigue after exertion or exercise which makes it difficult to engage in daily activities. "Brain fatigue" can also make patients feel totally drained of energy. Many patients describe this feeling as their arms and legs are tied to concrete blocks, or they have difficulty concentrating. I describe this "brain fog" as looking at a closed door. You know that the information that you need is behind the door, but you can neither open it nor see beyond it. Fatigue in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients goes a little deeper. When a patient receives a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diagnosis, the fatigue must be experienced for at least six months. And, it's usually the type of fatigue that puts you in bed, unable to function on a daily basis.

Possible Causes of Fatigue

Exercise. One would think that exercise would cause fatigue. As the out-of-condition person begins to exercise, chronic fatigue may disappear. However, over exertion can bring on fatigue, so balance is necessary. As long as you don't overdo it, you should see improvement in your lack of energy. But, in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients, post exertional fatigue may occur distinguishing it from fibromyalgia. If you're cursed with both illnesses with overlapping symptoms, it would be very difficult to determine which is the better solution. Listen to your body, and do what you can.

Lack of Deep, Restorative Sleep. When you thought that you got enough sleep and you still a wake up more tired than when you went to bed, this is caused by a lack of deep, restorative sleep. During stages three and four of the sleep cycle, known as the delta stages, the muscles are best able to repair itself from daily activity. In people with fibromyalgia, deeper sleep delta stages are disrupted by alpha brain waves, which usually occurs when you're awake. This intrusion puts you back into a shallow sleep and you wake feeling tired and unrefreshed the next day. Not to mention that pain, insomnia, restless legs syndrome, and sleep apnea disrupts sleep patterns which can greatly contribute to fatigue.


Stimulation. Being in a stressful or anxious state accompanied with lack of sleep or periods of rest may cause fatigue. Overworking, working around a lot of noise, and excesses in pleasures are also fatigue producers. Taking time for yourself, turning the cell phone off, pacing yourself in daily activity, can do wonders to improve fatigue.

Health Problem. Just because you have fibromyalgia and/or chronic fatigue syndrome, donít mean that you aren't susceptible to other health problems. Other health conditions that are associated with fatigue are thyroid disease, blood sugar problems, anemia, depression and constipation. In fact, scientists have recognized that the Epstein-Barr virus is thought to play a role in chronic fatigue syndrome patients. One of the major symptoms of Epstein-Barr is "extreme fatigue." So, a trip to the doctor, to rule out other medical causes of fatigue, may be in order.

Medications. Simply put, never underestimate side effects of medication. A simple adjustment in the dosage or a medication switch may do the trick.

Fatigue doesn't have to ruin your life. Perhaps some of the suggestions listed can help you, as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome patients, to lead a more full, productive life.
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Content copyright © 2014 by Veronica E. Thomas. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Veronica E. Thomas. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Veronica E. Thomas for details.

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