Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Chronic Pain

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Chronic Pain

A lesser-known condition, chronic fatigue syndrome, sometimes called CFS, is a condition that makes patients feel so tired that they can’t do all of their normal, daily activities. There are other symptoms too, but feeling very tired for at least 6 months is the main one.

Many people improve in a year or two and do not relapse. Some people continue to have severe fatigue and other symptoms for many years.

CFS is still not well understood. Most experts now believe that it is a separate illness with its own set of symptoms, but some doctors do not believe this.

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Because there are no tests for CFS, many people have trouble accepting their disease or getting their friends and family to do so. It’s important for patients to have people in their life who believe their diagnosis and support them, along with having a doctor they can trust.

Doctors don’t know what causes CFS. Sometimes it begins after an illness like the flu, but there is no proof of any connection. It’s likely that a number of factors or triggers come together to cause CFS.

The main symptom of CFS is extreme tiredness or fatigue. Those who have CFS may feel exhausted all or much of the time, may have problems sleeping or may wake up feeling tired or not rested. CFS may also make it harder for patients to think clearly, concentrate, and remember things. Patients may have headaches, muscle and joint pain, a sore throat, and tender glands in the neck or armpits. Often symptoms may flare up after a mental or physical activity that used to be no problem. Depression is common with CFS, and it can make other symptoms worse, though antidepressant medicines can help.

As mentioned before, there are no tests for CFS. Doctors can diagnose it only by ruling out other possible causes of fatigue. Since many other health problems can cause fatigue, most people with fatigue have something other than chronic fatigue syndrome.

While there is no specific treatment for CFS itself, many of its symptoms can be treated. A good relationship between doctor and patient is important because working together to find a combination of medicines and behavior changes is the best way to help patients get better. Some trial and error may be needed because no single combination of treatments works for everyone.

Home treatment is very important. Patients may need to change their daily schedule, learn better sleep habits, and start getting regular gentle exercise.

Counseling and a gradual increase in exercise help people who have CFS get better.

Even though it may not be easy, keeping a good attitude really helps. Try not to get caught in a cycle of frustration, anger, and depression. Learning to cope with symptoms and talking to others who have the same illness can help patients keep a good attitude.

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