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 Fibromyalgia: Understanding and Treating Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia (Part 2) 

Almost all the others surveyed claimed that their FMS affected their job performance very badly. In Canada a single insurance company, London Life, reported in 1989 that it was issuing monthly long-term disability payments to over 630 people with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, involving a total of around a million dollars a month.

Historical Confusion of ‘Names’
Just as ‘fibrositis’ has become fibromyalgia, so has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome now replaced the former terms ‘chronic mononucleosis’ and ‘chronic Epstein-Barr syndrome’ of the recent past, and ‘neurasthenia’ and ‘nervous exhaustion’ of Victorian times.

There is still disagreement amongst experts as to whether CFS is the same as Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) or not, and it seems likely that this argument will run for some time. In these articles, wherever chronic fatigue is not related to a known disease processes such as diabetes or clinical depression, or simply to over tiredness through natural causes (e.g. overwork), the two names will be bracketed together as CFS(ME).

Some doctors insist that the psychological aspects of these conditions is the most important cause and they use the terms ‘masked depression’ and ‘somatoform disorder’ to describe such conditions. This is strongly resented by those afflicted by CFS(ME) or FMS who see the psychological and emotional symptoms as being the result of their fatigue, pain and general ill-health and not as causes. CFS(ME) and FMS: are they the same?
There is also disagreement amongst experts as to whether or not ‘fibromyalgia syndrome’ and ‘chronic fatigue syndrome’ are not in fact the same condition.

Both CFS(ME) and FMS often seem to begin after an infection or a severe shock (physical or emotional) , and the symptoms are very similar. The only obvious difference seems to be that for some people the fatigue element is the most dominant while for others the muscular pain symptoms are greatest.

In other words for many people the diagnosis CFS(ME) and FMS are interchangeable terms, although there are certain symptoms (fever, swollen glands for example) which are found in a higher percentage of CFS(ME) patients than those with FMS, which sometimes make such a comparison less precise.

Symptoms Compared
One of the most interesting list of symptoms associated with FMS/CFS(ME) was that given to a conference on the subject by a leading San Francisco physician Carol Jessop MD in 1990.10 The number of patients she has seen and studied (over a thousand) makes this a comprehensive selection of associated symptoms, and is even more impressive since many of her patients are referred to her by other physicians thus making the diagnosis more likely to be accurate that is to say that both she and the referring doctor have agreed that these people ARE suffering from FMS or CFS(ME).

Common Symptoms Found in Dr Jessop’s Patients

Chronic Fatigue100%
Cold Extremities100%
Impaired Memory100%
Frequent Urination95%
Sleep Disorder94%
Balance Problems89%
Muscle Twitching80%
Dry Mouth68%
Muscle Aches68%
Sore Throat20%
* Dr Jessop stated that this was a ’reactive depression’ not a ‘clinical depression’ and that only 8% of her depressed patients had required prior medical attention for this before the symptoms of CFS or FMS emerged
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 About The Author
Leon Chaitow ND, DO, MROA practicing naturopath, osteopath, and acupuncturist in the United Kingdom, with over forty years clinical experience, Chaitow is Editor-in-Chief, of the ...more
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