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Can someone explain the difference between ME and Fibromyalgia?

Discussion in 'General Symptoms' started by TCP36, Jun 17, 2013.

  1. TCP36

    TCP36 I'm not giving up, despite the setbacks and BS!

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    Could someone please explain the difference between ME and Fibromyalgia as it confuses me. I have ME but most of my symptoms are classed as those of Fibro as well as ME.
  2. SOC

    SOC Moderator and Senior Member

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    Good question. There is a lot of overlap in the two conditions and many of us have both fibromyalgia and ME. I'm sure there are better answers than this to your question, but I'll share a very general rule of thumb that one doctor told me. If you have the fibromyalgia tender points, then you have fibromyalgia. If you have PEM, then you have ME/CFS. If you have both, then you have fibromyalgia and ME/CFS as comorbid conditions. This assumes that you have the symptoms they have in common as well.

    That said, I suspect that there are many people misdiagnosed between the two conditions, so that the symptom overlap appears greater than it actually is. Alternatively, I think it's also possible that the conditions are just variations of a single illness.

    I've heard that fibromyalgia alone can improve with exercise, but that ME or ME plus fibromyalgia gets worse with exercise. I'm not at all sure how valid that conclusion is, though. :confused:
    beaker and Sparrow like this.
  3. Sparrow

    Sparrow Senior Member

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    I think in general, if overwhelming constant never-ending mind-bending pain is the primary symptom, then it's probably fibromyalgia. If fatigue, exhaustion, weakness, worsening after exercise, or viral feelings (swollen glands, feeling sick, etc.) are the primary concern, that's more of an ME thing. Although of course, a person can have both. And a person with fibro will often still have fatigue, etc. the same way a person with ME will still often have pain issues.
    beaker likes this.
  4. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    http://www.hfme.org/topicmedefsandfm.htm

    This site does take a particular view of ME that not overyone agrees with, but its still a very good site. Essentially they take a very hard view of ME, which I don't think is fully justified by the evidence though is not completely wrong either. However many of the issues comparing ME with fibro are discussed.

    Here is a different perspective on the same topic:

    http://www.ukfibromyalgia.com/conditions-mistaken-for-fm/me-and-cfs.html

    The difference cannot be fully addressed without getting into the definition arguments on ME. That is a deep and complex topic - don't expect to find easy answers.
  5. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    In the UK Rheumatologists are diagnosing people using the old ACOR criteria and then telling them they have ME or CFS as they think FM is the same. I've seen 2 of them like this so far.
  6. redrachel76

    redrachel76 Senior Member

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    Fibromyalgia is diagnosed by 11 tender points of pain out of 18. Therefore it refers to mainly the pain and tender points.

    CFS and ME are mainly exhaustion, weakness, immune and/or neurological symptoms and pain. In particular it refers to worsening after exertion.

    People with fibromyalgia alone always improve with exercise while ME/CFS don't.

    Annoyingly, the official definitions of CFS have been changed a few times.

    To UKXMRV -they do the same here in Israel too, the docs don't know the difference between fibromyalgia and CFS.
  7. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    The Canadian Consensus Criteria has a description of the differences starting at page 20 of http://www.cfids-cab.org/MESA/ccpccd.pdf
    merylg likes this.
  8. TCP36

    TCP36 I'm not giving up, despite the setbacks and BS!

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    Thanks guys. In all probability I may have both. I've had ME since 1984, so a long time and I was getting well in 2004 and then in 2007 I experienced extensive damage to my nervous system and now have nerve inflammation all over my body and it's affected all my organs. Not good, but I live in hope. I think I should be reassessed as every year my condition changes.

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