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Symptom vs. comorbid condition in Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Thursday 11 April 2013
When you have fibromyalgia (FMS) and chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), is fairly common to have a few dozen symptoms and half a dozen (or more) comorbid conditions. It can be hard to tell which is which. It's an important distinction, though.
When It's a Symptom
When something is a symptom of FMS or ME/CFS, it should fluctuate along with your other symptoms. For example, when I used to have flares, it would start with a particular type of abdominal pain. Then the fibro fog would move in, I'd get really crabby, and before long all of my muscles would start to tense. It was a predictable symptom cluster.
You might have multiple symptom clusters that are all from one of these conditions, and it's important to recognize them. (Here's help with that: Identifying Symptom Clusters.)
Meanwhile, regardless of what else was going on, I'd have insomnia and back pain. Those symptoms did fluctuate, but they did so on their own and not in concert with a cluster. They were separate from my fibromyalgia, so I knew they were overlapping conditions.
Treating Each Condition
The important thing about distinguishing which is which is that overlapping conditions need to be treated in their own right. Sometimes, the treatment is similar to what you're already doing for FMS or ME/CFS. Other times it's completely different, but we need to make sure we're targeting each problem that we have.
Treating all of your conditions can have multiple benefits. Proper treatment should not only calm down the condition it targets, but it could also help quiet your FMS or ME/CFS symptoms. That's because FMS and ME/CFS tend to be reactionary - they worse when something else is going wrong in your body.
I got a tremendous benefit from treating myofascial pain syndrome. Acupuncture was able to eliminate a lot of my worst trigger points, which meant I was in less pain, which means there was less aggravation for my nervous system. That led to a dramatic decline in FMS symptoms.
It won't always be that big a change, but it could benefit you more than you think.
Have you been able to identify what is a symptom and what is a comorbidity? Has treating comorbid conditions helped your FMS or ME/CFS? Are you confused about what's causing what symptom? Leave your comments here!
The above, with comments, originally appeared here.
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