Is It Chronic Fatigue Or Fibromyalgia? How To Tell Them Apart

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For many people, getting out of bed can prove to be a struggle, especially if they are experiencing disruptive sleep, anxiety, fatigue, and chronic pain. Moreover, there could be several reasons for those symptoms, some of which are debilitating and complex health conditions such as chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Those with either condition experience many similar symptoms, and it can be difficult to pinpoint which one they have accurately. And despite what others may advertise, no widely accepted blood test can provide a definite diagnosis.

Doctors tend to use the process of elimination method to diagnose these two health conditions and generally look for the patient’s dominant symptom, either pain for fibromyalgia or fatigue for chronic fatigue syndrome.

An Overview of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Fibromyalgia is among the most misunderstood conditions, as most people are unaware of what it entails. Most patients are diagnosed with it by the ages 20 to 50, with the incidence increasing with age, and 75%-90% of patients with the condition commonly being women. What causes fibromyalgia is unknown at present, but infections, trauma, or genetics are believed to play a role. Those with fibromyalgia explain that it is similar to constantly having the flu. The symptoms of fibromyalgia include:

  • Swelling joints
  • Sleep issues
  • Morning stiffness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Widespread pain

On the other hand, people with myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) report fatigue that worsens with activity and does not get any better with rest. Other reported symptoms that come and go include muscle or joint pain, dizziness, headaches, and difficulty with standing, sitting, and concentrating. A physician may suggest getting a blood and urine test after reviewing the patient’s symptoms and medical history to diagnose the condition.

How Are Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Treated?

A proper diagnosis is essential to relieve chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia via medications and various therapies. Medicines are just the tip of the iceberg, as the best treatments do not always come in the form of pills. When using medication, it is vital to ensure that they target the pain without causing excess sedation. For non-pharmacological aid, doctors recommend a variety of tools, such as support groups and counselling.

Physical activity is also essential in treating both health conditions and staying healthy overall, but keep in mind to pace yourself. Follow a structured program that does not risk overexertion and consult a virtual doctor in Singapore for help in putting together an exercise program.

How Your Loved Ones Can Help

Patients with chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia should always remember that they are not alone and that their family and loved ones can help make things easier. Since the doctors have a typically small role in treating either disease, they recommend making your family members partners in your treatment. They are akin to a coach that helps you with the first 10%-15% of your improvement while the remaining 85%-90% is up to you. Take, for instance, certain days when you do not feel like getting up from bed due to pain or fatigue. Your family members can then encourage you to get moving, even for just a bit.


If you are suffering from chronic pain and fatigue, talk to a doctor today and get diagnosed to manage your symptoms better, regardless of the mysteries surrounding your condition. With the MYCLNQ app, enjoy the benefits of telemedicine and get an online medical consultation is made hassle-free and can be done in the comfort of your home. Contact us today to learn more!

Source of Information: Cleveland Clinic

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