WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FM & CFS??

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by pirtpain, Feb 11, 2006.

  1. pirtpain

    pirtpain New Member

    I know that it should be obvious the difference between FM & CFS, That you are more tired with CFS. I know that the symptoms overlap. Does anyone out there know some specific differences?? I have heard that there are tests that can

    tell if you have CFS, is that true?? I go to the dr. for alot of things like most of us so I would like to know if I can figure this out without going to the dr. for just that.
    Any feedback would be appreciated.

    PIRT (tired in San Jose)
  2. cerise

    cerise New Member

    Yes, many things overlap, but to those of us who suffer with CFS (really ME, CFS is an American name given by CDC in 1988)really believe their is a big difference.

    To start with, exercise intolerance. It is crucial for FMS folks to exercise to reduce their pain (such as stretching, walking, water exercises etc). With CFS folks, these type of activities will take a physical toll on them anywhere's from a few days to weeks later for unknown periods of time.

    We have no stamina. Also depending on the severity of your illness, many of us are only comfortable when we are in a laying down position.

    IBS is associated with FMS folks rather than CFS/ME patients.

    And the list goes on. I have one & will try to find it to post. BRAIN FOG is a common problem amongst both groups!

    One thing you can notice about the differences are the amount of support group web sites for Fibro and those for CFS/ME. If you notice FMS sites are more active as well as the longetivity. We CFS/ME folks just piddle out and can't hang in there.

    May 12th International CFS/ME Awareness Day was founded in 1993 and it's founder is now bedridden and unable to continue the cause he founded. If you'll notice, it's the FMS support groups that have managed to keep it afloat. They're in pain but can function longer and better than many CFS/ME patients.
  3. JLH

    JLH New Member

    Will someone please tell me if this is untrue ... but I read someplace that the main difference was that CFS did not experience any, or as much, pain as the FMS people do.
    Like I said, I am not sure if this is true.

  4. i read what cerise wrote and i tend to agree with her.i suffer from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.i think the chronic fatigue syndrome is the part that makes us very tired,lacking energy and excersize does drain us so much,that we do end up bedbound just waiting for our bodies to recover.we have to use the energy wisely because we know the energy is very precious to us.
    i attended a pain management course and was bedbound for 3 days,it just made my body shut down as regards muscle strength.
    i do think that flu like thing that i suffer from,is also the chronic fatigue syndrome.over here in the uk its called yuppie flu.i dont know why its called that haha im a poor woman,im certainly no yuppie (spoilt rich kid)


    all the best
    fran xx
    [This Message was Edited on 02/12/2006]
  5. JimCoyote1942

    JimCoyote1942 New Member

    I feel that we should not concern ourselves with these artificial differences that are stuck on us by the medicos. The disease should be treated as one and called ME everywhere.
  6. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    I have CFIDS and not FM. I have NONE of the pain of FM. Just a weakened immune system, lack of stamina, severe post-exertional malaise, exercise intolerance (and I used to be able to walk for miles and miles). Many with CFIDS also have sleep disturbances, I have, although my sleep has improved a lot by treating high cortisol levels with Seriphos and taking 5-htp. I also used to have chronic sore throats but those have abated. I think I'm making some improvements, but it is slight and too soon to really tell if it will last.

    I don't have brain fog, thank goodness, and don't have IBS.

    I used to have a whole host of digestive disturbances, including inflamed gallbladder, inflamed colon, toxic liver, stuck ileocecal valve, parasites, recurring viral stomach and intestinal bugs. And my wonderful chiropractor who does muscle testing helped me with all of this (except hte parasites, which I treated on my own) and my digestion is now quite good.

    I have read that some exercise is good for people with FM, but it can be damaging for people with CFS.

    You will probably hear as many different opinions on this as there are people on this board. I guess we all have different experiences.

    Mary
  7. pirtpain

    pirtpain New Member

    I thank you all very much for your input & experiences. I sometimes feel that I too have CFS along with the FM that I have been diagnosed with. The smallest thing exausts me. My excercise is NONE. I do have problems with excercise but my

    dr. says it's because I am unconditioned. I do know that they do put FM & CFS in the same category in many cases, writings, & discussions etc. Anyway I do thank you all for your input!! It does help!

    PIRT
  8. KelB

    KelB New Member

    I only have CFS and I also have none of the pain associated with FM, like mbofov (Mary) above.

    My main symptom is the brain fog, followed by post-exertional malaise (that's the fancy name for being knackered after any kind of activity!). With CFS they say that the tiredness comes up to 24 hours after you've done whatever-it-is. So you can feel fine at the time or immediately afterwards, but you have a delayed fatigue reaction later.

    FM pain has the specific "tender point" test, but I'm not sure if you can get a reaction from that just with CFS as well?

    I think the problem is that everyone has a slightly different sub-set of symptoms and CFS and FM do seem to overlap quite a bit. I wish there were a few more absolutes, but until they come up with a test for either or both, then it's just a bundle of "maybes"!
  9. cerise

    cerise New Member

    First of all, it is ME not CFS. Try looking up the medical definition of "chronic fatigue" and then the definition of "syndrome" and see if you think that explains "CFS" as you know it! and therein lies a whole another problem!!!

    There are so many "symptoms" to both these DD, and the crazy part is that not everybody will have all the symptoms that are attributed to these diseases, nor will they have every symptom they do have all the time.

    What CFS has in common with FMS is that symptoms may "wax and wane," getting worse or better, some more prominent than other symptoms, some disappearing and being replaced by a symptom not experienced before.

    This in itself takes a MAJOR toll on a person's body, affecting the immune system, organs, & musculoskeletal (and mental health) to the point of making minor every day tasks of daily living impossible at times. (Try keeping a schedule, ain't going to happen!)

    In 1999 Melissa Kaplan (RN) compiled a SYMPTOM COMPARISON TABLE FOR "CFS & FM." She broke down the symptoms into the following categories:

    > GENERAL SYMPTOMS (31)
    > CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM (CNS) SYMPTOMS (17)
    > EQUILIBRIUM/PERCEPTION (7)
    > PAIN SYMPTOMS (7)
    > PSYCHOLOGICAL SYMPTOMS/MOOD/EMOTIONS (11)
    > SLEEP SYMPTOMS (6)

    She found of the 31 "GENERAL SYMPTOMS" FMS shared only 4 with CFS.

    Of the 17 "CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM SYMPTOMS" FMS shared 10.

    Regarding PAIN, PSYCHOLOGICAL & SLEEP SYMPTOMS, CFS and FM had the ALL of the SAME symptoms.

    Fatigue, prolonged, disabling, made worse by exertion or stress is a common symptom for both CFS and FM. The difference with CFS (and the first symptom I experienced)is ACTIVITY LEVEL REDUCED TO LESS THAN 50% OF PRE-ONSET LEVEL.

    Additionally FLU-LIKE SYMPTOMS, on-going or recurrent after inital gradual or acute onset, includes mild fever (99.5 - 101.5F), chills, extreme fatigue after minimal exertion.

    What I personally noticed is the pain I experienced with CFS alone, was more like the achy flu body pain. Also I felt like concerete cinder blocks were strapped on to my thighs permantly.

    Then I got FMS. Then I knew PAIN versus miserable discomfort! I also get to experience the joys of IBS.

    If I could pick one over the other I would take FMS over CFS in a heart beat!

    Linda
  10. Shelbyeatenton

    Shelbyeatenton New Member

    I have been diagnosed with FM and am in a wheelchair due to the pain that is being spread through the whole of my body. I just wanted to ask a few questions after reading about the differences between FMS and CFS and im a bit confused? also because people with FMS often say they have real trouble sleeping, since i've been in the chair i have slep a lot more than a "normal" cycle with only a few breakthrough nights of insomnia. ANY sort of exercise is agony, even when i stand to transfer myself to the chair/bed i feel like crying and my body shakes with the pain.I try and do stretches every day so i dont become too weak and my muscles dont waste but its becoming really exhausting. I just wondered what this meant, because i dont know whether its "normal" for me to be feeling like this with FM or not. I just wanted to ask peoples opinions. Does anyone with FM feel like this. I know there are people using wheelchairs etc, i saw the post about that. I'm still learning, i guess i always will be.

    Many thanks for any response you can give me.

    Shelby
    xxxxx
  11. cerise

    cerise New Member

    Just saw your post. Are you being seen by rheumy for your FM? Have you talked to a doctor about CFS at all?

    There are tons of websites that have more info about the symptoms and what to do if you think you may have CFS (the American name). For starters & off the top of my head, this is a great site for info about CFS and FM! They have a great library.

    Have you been tested for Lyme Disease?

    There are so many questions that you would need to have answered. A diagnosis of CFS involves ruling out other diseases and illnesses. For example, have you been tested for MS, a disease that CFS masks.

    I would recommend seeing an Infectious Disease or an Immunologist that specializes in CFS to for an accurate diagnosis.

    It does sound like you have more questions that you need a medical professional to answer for you.
  12. Shelbyeatenton

    Shelbyeatenton New Member

    yes, i've seen a rheumatologist. It was him that actually diagnosed the FM. They have done every test under the sun! ;-)

    I have started very recently at a pain clinic and so maybe i could mention it to them there? see if they can look into my worries a little further?

    I just don't want to appear paranoid to them or like i may be over reacting. What do you (or anyone) think? Is it worth talking taking it a little further and investigating my worries?

    Hugs
    Shelby
    xx