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Posted Aug 21 2010 4:55am

Are Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and back pain connected?

Fibromyalgia symptoms can include,
chronic fatigue
Tension and migraine headaches
menstrual pain
rheumatoid arthritis
upper respiratory infections
heat and cold intolerance
chronic bladder or vulva pain
low grade fever
numbness or tingling
increased sensitivity to sounds
extreme pain in eighteen different muscle points on your body

Chronic Fatigue symptoms can include,
chronic fatigue
sleep disturbances
Persistent or relapsing debilitating fatigue,
memory concentration problems
sore throat
enlarged and tender lymph nodes
muscle pain
joint pain
poor sleep
prolonged fatigue after exercise

Back Pain symptoms can include,
chronic pain
sleep disturbances
menstrual pain,
numbness and tingling
joint pain
muscle pain

As far as back pain is concerned nine times out of ten it can be diagnosed by xray or MRI but with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue an xray or MRI will show nothing as the cause is obscure, but researchers believe that an infection or weakened immune system is possibly the culprit.

Fibromyalgia has been around for a long, long time and was originally called Fibrositis. It's a complex, mysterious disorder which has been described in medical literature dating back as far as the early 17th century. It can affect anyone at any age but seems to be more common in women than men. It does appear that it could be hereditary, even appearing in family lines several generations back. Some physicians question the existence of Fibromyalgia, and prefer not to deal with patients who have this complicated disorder, even stating to some patients that the pain is 'all in the head'. However, Fibromyalgia is NOT a mental condition and you should NEVER be told that the pain is 'all in your head'. Years ago, poor recognition and lack of treatment for it was really due to lack of research on it but today, years of research and medical evidence support the diagnosis of this disease. Although medical professionals say the cause is still unknown, it is very widely assumed to be connected with immune system problems. Fibromyalgia means pain in the muscle, ligaments and tendons – the fibrous tissue in the body. It also seems to have some common factors with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, these are a high-stress lifestyle, a weakened immune system, and emotional or physical trauma.

There are wide differences of opinions on the two conditions, even among medical experts. Most agree the two diseases are similar and could be related disorders and some even believe these are simply two names for the same thing. But, although its true some of the symptoms are similar in both diseases, Fibromyalgia however is predominantly pain whereas fatigue is the major complaint in people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The fatigue seen in people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is generally profound, and can be completely incapacitating. Criteria for CFS established by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are fatigue that has been present for more than six months and is accompanied by some of the symptoms listed above.

Fibromyalgia and back pain have no boundaries. People describe the pain as deep muscular aching, throbbing, shooting, stabbing, or intense burning. Quite often, the pain and stiffness are worse in the morning, and muscle groups that are used repetitively may hurt more. In addition, the severity of regional pains (particularly those in the head, neck, shoulders and lower back) are a strong predictor of a person's overall pain rating. The muscles in these painful areas can feel tight, knotted and rope-like. Pressing on the firm, knotted region hurts and often causes the pain to shoot to other muscles when a myofascial trigger point is present. It's no wonder that all these conditions can end up being labelled as one disease but which one is anyone's guess.

Tomorrow I will write a review on how to get the correct diagnosis for these conditions.

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