Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) & Fibromyalgia


Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia overlap a lot. So much so, that many think it actually one and the same thing.  They are both linked to Stress Exhaustion, and considered Central Sensitivity Syndromes (CSS),   In recent times, some doctors and researchers have come to consider them as Environmental Illness. It does seem that many diagnosed with these conditions are suffering from biotoxicity and related conditions like CIRS OR MCS.

symptoms of fibromyalgia (note: this picture


Both people with CFS and Fibromyalgia can experience multiple functional nerve – central sensitivity syndromes. The main difference between the two conditions is that one is defined by chronic muscular pain and tender points (fibromyalgia) and the other is defined by debilating fatigue (CFS).

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is also known as Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease (SEID) and Myalgic Encephalomylitis (ME). 

What does Myalgic Encephalomyelitis mean???

MYA                     muscles

ALGIC                  painful

ENCEPHALO       brain

MYEL                   nerve

ITIS                      inflammation


People with CFS experience very profound fatigue worsened by exertion (physical, mental),  as well as poor sleep and a range of other symptoms, that wax and wane from day to day.  Most common are shown in the diagram below, but a lot of other symptoms can also occur, which when clustered often represent related CSS Pain Syndromes or Environmental Illness .


Symptoms of CFS can be made worse by psychological and social stress, Activity that is not paced, Medications, and environmental triggers and sensitivities including

 CFS and Mental Illness

CFS is not a mental illness, however up to 50% of people with CFS experience severe anxiety or depression.  

While treatment of comorbid mental illness is important, the failure of the doctor or therapist to consider CFS in treatment can lead to a worsening of symptoms associated with CFS. 

Causes of CFS

Causes of CFS are not fully understood yet. However a large body of scientific researh indicates that it is intiated by a trauma (usually a very bad infection or toxic/chemical injury) in people with vulnerable genetics or  in people who are already quite exhausted due to high or long term stress.  It is very complex neuroimmune condition that causes a multitude of symptoms related to the dysfunction of the stress (fight/flight) system  and  of: 

  • The brain
  • Gastro-intestinal system
  • Immune system
  • Endocrine and cardiac systems

Which can result in the body going into a state that can be likened to hibernation, in order to protect itself from death and disease.  In this state there is enough resources for basic survival, but not much else. 


Things you can do to help with CFS

From guide on CFS by the Better Health Channel

Download Here

  • Find a doctor who understands ME/CFS.
  • The main symptom of ME/CFS is having flu-like symptoms after exercise. ME/CFS is much more than feeling tired or ‘fatigued’.
  • There are a number of subtypes of ME/CFS, so treatments will affect people differently.
  • A self-management course can help you learn how best to manage your ME/CFS.
  • Exercise can help some, but not all, people with ME/CFS.
  • Only make very small increases in the frequency, duration and intensity of your exercise program.
  • Set realistic activity goals and congratulate yourself on any gains you make, no matter how small.
  • Listen to your body – if you don’t feel up to exerting yourself on a particular day, don’t.

Things you should not do if you have CFS

  • Take MAOI anti depressants
  • Aerobic exercise – do graded exercise therapy instead
  • Start medications on standard dose – poor detoxification and pseudo allergies are common to people with CFS
  • Take large quantities of supplements, especially without proper medical supervision
  • Give blood


See other Do not do recommendations



Fries 2005

This Post Has Been Viewed 4,259 Times