More than half of people diagnosed with fibromyalgia fit the bill for chronic fatigue syndrome, too. Are they really just the same disease?
Given the similarities between the two syndromes, it’s no surprise that there’s much overlap regarding the recommended treatments for fibromyalgia fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome. Common treatments between the two include:
- Sleep. Getting plenty of sleep is key to managing the symptoms of both syndromes. Both sets of patients often experience disrupted sleep, so it is important that they maintain good sleep habits and avoid caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco. If necessary, talk to your doctor about using medication to aid in falling asleep.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy. Patients with chronic fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome have been found to benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy, which teaches people how to recognize symptoms and self-treat using a variety of coping strategies such as relaxation therapy, cognitive pain management, and rest.
However, treatments do differ in a couple of important areas. While exercise has been found to be very beneficial to fibromyalgia patients — aerobic exercise in particular has been shown to relieve symptoms — chronic fatigue symptom patients are told to moderate any exercise, as their symptoms often grow worse following exertion.
People with chronic fatigue syndrome who have muscle aches often are prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammation drugs (NSAIDs), like aspirin or ibuprofen for their pain. But NSAIDs have been found to have no effect on muscle pain involved with fibromyalgia. Patients with fibromyalgia most often find pain relief through the use of antidepressants.
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