The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia Connection

chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Fibromyalgia are both immune system dysfunctions that are incurable, painful and ongoing. There also seems to be a connection between the two illnesses and unfortunately, some people who develop one, may also develop the other.

Symptoms may vary and mimic other illnesses. The medical community still cannot definitively attribute any particular cause to either malady.

According to the Mayo Clinic, scientists do speculate that some of the following factors may cause the onset of CFS:

Viral infections. Because some people develop chronic fatigue syndrome after having a viral infection, researchers question whether some viruses might trigger the disorder.Suspicious viruses include Epstein-Barr virus, human herpes virus 6 and mouse leukemia viruses. No conclusive link has yet been found.

Immune system problems. The immune systems of people who have chronic fatigue syndrome appear to be impaired slightly, but it’s unclear if this impairment is enough to actually cause the disorder.

Hormonal imbalances. People who have chronic fatigue syndrome also sometimes experience abnormal blood levels of hormones produced in the hypothalamus, pituitary glands or adrenal glands. But the significance of these abnormalities is still unknown.

Scientists also speculate on the causes of fibromyalgia. The Mayo Clinic states that the following factors may be the cause of this painful illness:

Genetics. Because fibromyalgia tends to run in families, there may be certain genetic mutations that may make you more susceptible to developing the disorder.

Infections. Some illnesses appear to trigger or aggravate fibromyalgia.

Physical or emotional trauma. Post-traumatic stress disorder has been linked to fibromyalgia.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia are more common in women, are often misunderstood illnesses and are generally diagnosed by excluding other conditions.

Many people suffer from both maladies and many of the same natural remedies, lifestyle changes, treatment plans and medications are used to treat them. But there is no drug that has been developed to date specifically to treat or cure CFS or fibromyalgia.

Both conditions can weaken the body, lead to depression and be very debilitating in all areas of life. Normal work, home life, and recreation are all profoundly effected by these illnesses.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromylia Symptoms


CFS causes a severe exhaustion that lasts for six months or more. Bed rest brings no relief and physical or mental activity may worsen the illness.

Other symptoms include muscle and joint pain, headaches, sleep problems, fever, lack of concentration, sore throat and tender lymph nodes.


Fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread pain in muscles, ligaments and tendons, as well as fatigue and multiple tender points on the body where any type of pressure causes pain.

These tender points include the back of the head, between the shoulder blades, top of the shoulders, upper chest, outer elbows, front sides of the neck, inner knees and the upper part and sides of the hips.

Is There a Genetic Component Linking Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia tends to run in families and indicates a genetic component to researchers. Some other illnesses such as CFS and post traumatic stress disorder appear to trigger or aggravate it.

Many healthcare professionals also believe that there may be an environmental component that triggers the illness, since many people who suffer from Environmental Illness, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Chemical Allergies and other allergies sometimes suffer from Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia as well.

Conventional Treatments

Among the conventional drugs that doctors typically prescribe for Fibromyalgia and CFS are:

  • Antidepressants
  • Sleep medications
  • Painkillers
  • Anti-inflammatory medicine
  • Antivirals
  • Anxiety drugs

Alternative Treatments

Complementary and/or alternative treatments may include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Massage
  • Biofeedback
  • Chiropractic
  • Physical therapy

Many patients take nutritional supplements and herbal remedies in addition to or instead of medications.

A natural, organic diet also may help to manage both disorders, but it may take guided nutritional help and personal experimentation to determine which foods work best and which should be avoided.

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