Fibromyalgia (cont.)

Will fibromyalgia get better with time?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, meaning it lasts a long time -- possibly a lifetime. However, it may be comforting to know that fibromyalgia is not a progressive disease. It is never fatal, and it will not cause damage to the joints, muscles, or internal organs. In many people, the condition does improve over time.

What is the difference between fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome?

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia are alike in many ways. In fact, it is not uncommon for a person to have both fibromyalgia and CFS. Some experts believe that fibromyalgia and CFS are in fact the same disorder, but expressed in slightly different ways. Both CFS and fibromyalgia have pain and fatigue as symptoms.

The main symptom of CFS is extreme tiredness. CFS often begins after having flu-like symptoms. But people with CFS do not have the tender points that people with fibromyalgia have. To be diagnosed with CFS, a person must have:

  1. Extreme fatigue for at least 6 months that cannot be explained by medical tests and
  2. At least 4 or more of the following symptoms:
    • Forgetting things or having a hard time focusing
    • Feeling tired even after sleeping
    • Muscle pain or aches
    • Pain or aches in joints without swelling or redness
    • Feeling discomfort or "out-of-sort" for more than 24 hours after being active
    • Headaches of a new type, pattern, or strength
    • Tender lymph nodes in the neck or under the arm
    • Sore throat


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