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Isn't CFS, Fibromyalgia and Me basically all the same

By January 10, 2010 - 10:44am
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I was diagnosed with fibro 2 yrs ago, but the more I read, it looks like these are all basically the same thing. I know I have CFS even though my Dr. only diagnosed me with Fibro. It's just all confusing.

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EmpowHER Guest

Thank you for your question.

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic condition that causes intense pain in various places around the body, including muscles, connective tissues and joints, as well as a host of other symptoms.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or (CFS) /Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or (ME)
This condition is much more than just being overly run down. This is so severe that even doing everyday tasks are unbearable. This can be so debilitating that a person could be bedridden.

According to About.com, FM and CFS or ME have many similarities. In fact, a number of people with FM also have CFS, which can make diagnosis and treatment even more confusing. Although the two illnesses have many symptoms in common, the most prevalent symptom of FM is widespread pain while the primary symptom of CFS is extreme fatigue that does not improve with rest. The differences in the diagnostic criteria reflect this emphasis on the primary symptom. Fibromyalgia’s diagnosis revolves around the pain, while chronic fatigue syndrome’s diagnosis focuses more on the fatigue.

For more information about causes of FM, click on the following links:


For more information about causes of CFS/ME, click on the following links:


I hope this helps.

January 10, 2010 - 11:41am

Hey there hun :)
I've been diagnosed (dx) with fibro for over 5 years, relocating my family (and medical care) twice I have had my fair share of doctors. As in all things my care providers have run the gamut from exceptional to lazy. In my personal experience too many doctors simply lump all fibro symptoms together under one heading. Sadly, this does us patients, further damage. I think that the majority of the run of the mill General Practioner's out there... well, simply put... they want or need to (do to patient overload, job burn out, lack of knowledge, time to educate or attend conferences and/or financial constraints) label it all fibromyalgia and sweep all our symptoms under that dx. This dilemma exascerbates an already delicate situation for the patient but helps the doctor to have a complete dx and therefore begin treatment. Unfortunately with only half a dx, you can only recieve half of the care.
For instance, CFS medications are completely different to fibro medications ... irritable bowel meds are different from pain meds... muscle relaxants obviously differ from headache meds.
It's been my experience that when I had a doctor that would trust me to maintain my fluctuating symptoms with a proper array of medications I was at my best. However most doctors would never do that. My current physician has decided that I need fewer medications and made sweeping changes... the result meant I spent most of the holidays in bed sick with a myriad of symptoms :/
I guess the gist of my comment here is that you need to find a doctor who will treat the WHOLE you. Don't settle for run of the mill ... we are exceptional people who need exceptional care ... therefore seek and find an exceptional doctor with an equally supportive front office staff.
Lastly, study hard ... read all you can find on the subject ... become your own advocate and again, do not settle. This is your life and the quality of it is in your control. Let your doctor know that as you trust him or her and their choice of modalities that you are placing your ability to function on hold until something begins to work... too often doctors fail to see that simply fact.
better close ... I could go on and on with this subject ...LOL!
much love to you ... and sweetheart remember you are not alone :)
your fibro sister,

January 10, 2010 - 11:37am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to tharilyn)

Thank you so much...my Dr. is very old and I think so are his thoughts. I'm sure I also have CFS, due to the fatigue, but when I told him about it all he said was depression will make you tired....ok I have fibro and yes many days I am sad, but not totally depressed. I need to find a new dr. but I have no health ins. and am limited on funds. Any info is welcomed ... nice to be able to chat with someone about it. Ihave joined a support group but not fond of it. Thank You once again

January 10, 2010 - 3:13pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

you are so welcome hun ... with no insurance it can be a real pain (no pun intended...LOL) ... I don't know if I mentioned in my first post about Savella or Lyrica or any of the other "fibro" meds... Savella has helped me but we are all indiviuals and each case as complex as we are different. For me the seretonin reuptake inhibitors work on both what doctors percieve as depression (I, like you am sad alot but more from being in constant pain and not being able to participate in life than true depression.. that part of the medication should appeal to the doctors sensibilities ..LOL!) and it helps stop the brain from not handling its seretonin levels correctly ... much of that gets too technical for me but I didn't have the heavy fatigue... walking thru wet cement while my brain is in a fog feeling :)
Perhaps because your doc is old and old school ... he would consider trying you out on one of the newer fibro meds ? Since you have a doctor that will see you with no insurance ... keep the sure thing as opposed to going without a doc at all ... that is just scary! I don't know if you are in a rural area or not but you can just keep casting your net wider until you find someone that knows a bit more about CFS/fibro ... in my experience either that means the doc will be younger or one who attends conferences and medical workshops to keep up on new things ...
I hope I helped :) At least knowing you arent alone gives me a good feeling ... I hope it does you too :)
all my best ... your fibro-sister... TJ

January 28, 2010 - 1:20am
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