One of the most difficult and frustrating symptoms for myself is the chronic fatigue I have alongside fibromyalgia. When I got told by doctors and specialists that fibromyalgia is often accompanied by fatigue, I never thought the fatigue would be this life disrupting. I’ve learned that feeling tired versus feeling fatigued are two completely separate terms. When a person feels tired, sleeping will cure this tiredness, while fatigue is not relieved by any amount of sleep. In my case I have come to realize no matter how little or how much sleep I get, I feel extremely fatigued the next day, to the point it makes it extremely difficult to function and take care of my basic needs. Who knew eating could become tiring?!? Lifting food to my mouth and chewing the food has proven to be a chore at times. I literally told my doctor this exact sentence not long ago. Some days finding the energy to eat is just overwhelming. Can anyone else relate?
At my last neurologist appointment, he explained to me that chronic fatigue is one of the most difficult things to treat as there are so many factors to think about to even pinpoint why the fatigue may be so disruptive. Fatigue is a symptom of fibromyalgia to begin with. A survey revealed, 780 males who have fibromyalgia, 93% reported chronic fatigue. While 4467 women were surveyed – 97% reported fatigue. The use of certain medications to help limit fibromyalgia pain could be part of the culprit to the added fatigue. Many medications used in treatment; have a possible side effect of fatigue.
Ever hear about chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)? I have done a lot of research between fibromyalgia and CFS. CFS is a completely separate condition from fibromyalgia. There again, it can be difficult to diagnose – just like fibromyalgia. There is no one test to diagnose CFS. I have never been officially diagnosed with it, but I stand firm when I state I do have it. Chronic fatigue syndrome also presents with many other symptoms. Below are some of the possible symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Fatigue is not the only symptom people may experience with CFS. I often get daily sore throats, fevers that range from 99-103 F, and swollen lymph nodes. My blood tests always reflect no indication of any infection or that my body is battling a cold or flu. I’ve come to the conclusion that these symptoms I experience, are from chronic fatigue syndrome. There is no other explanation to why I exhibit these symptoms. These symptoms have a very quick onset and with little warning. As I write this blog, I found myself with a fever of 103. When these symptoms arise, it feels like I have the world’s worst flu bug…but I don’t. Have you ever had a flu that has knocked you down for days?!? Most of us have at some point. That is what I experience, but every day. Imagine living with a flu everyday – 24/7 for 365 days. Welcome to my reality.
As for treatment options for CFS, there have only been a few options mentioned to me, but not just a simple fix. My doctor and neurologist both mentioned the possibility of using a stimulant medication such as modafinil. By using a stimulant, one may see a response of wakefulness. Before using these medications there may be many aspects to think about prior. My doctor was very concerned that using a stimulant to improve my wakefulness during the day would be counter-active and not wear off before I went to bed causing further sleep issues to form. There are many listed side effects on these medications as well. Not everyone will experience the possible side effects. I personally find most medications can help relieve some symptoms, but then leave behind another symptom that may be unpleasant to deal with.
The other treatment option that is supposed to help improve chronic fatigue syndrome is exercise. I was never given any further direction on what type of exercises help or duration; however, I’ve found adding exercise into my day very difficult. First of all, who wants to exercise when they are so fatigued and causes pain levels to hit pain levels of 10?!!One must find the right exercises and duration and not over do this exercise and make their fibromyalgia symptoms and fatigue worse. If you are seeing a kinesiologist, they may be able to guide you with this route. This was my running issue balance. In my particular case, trying to add exercise made me go into a fibro flare each and every time. Research states that pain levels will increase at the beginning until one’s pain threshold increases, but I found it difficult to follow through when the results were so negative and debilitating results. There may be other treatment routes to improve chronic fatigue. These two are the ones most talked about.
When a person experiences chronic fatigue everyday it can impact a person’s cognitive abilities. I know I often struggle and search for words when I am trying to speak, leading to stuttering or creating words up that aren’t actually a word. I often joke saying maybe I could become rich by claiming rights to my newly created words. My concentration is also very limited, and I often find myself forgetting things. I will get into how fibromyalgia effects a person’s cognitive abilities in a later blog.
Just like fibromyalgia there is no cure for chronic fatigue syndrome. One must learn to maneuver through life the best he/she can while dealing with the exhaustion and symptoms left behind.
For more information visit: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-fatigue-syndrome/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20360510
- You can’t put a time limit on learning to manage fibromyalgia or any chronic condition
- FM/a blood test for fibromyalgia – does it really detect fibromyalgia?
- Fibromyalgia makes even grocery shopping difficult
- Four reasons I blog about my fibromyalgia journey…
- The Spoon Theory – What is it and how to use it?