A man suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome

Everyone feels a little tired or exhausted from time to time, but this feeling is nothing compared to chronic fatigue syndrome. This condition is marked by severe fatigue that lasts for six months or more and isn’t a side effect of another medical condition.

It most commonly affects women in their 40s and 50s, but teenagers can also develop chronic fatigue syndrome much earlier in life.

Since chronic fatigue syndrome is closely tied to joint pain, here is some information about what this condition is, what causes it, its symptoms, and how it is diagnosed and treated. Chronic fatigue syndrome is one of the most misunderstood medical conditions, but it is estimated that it affects up to 2.5 million people in the U.S. alone.1

Causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

It can be very difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of a patient’s chronic fatigue syndrome because the symptoms can be triggered by a wide variety of factors.2,3,4,5 For example, some sufferers report that a viral infection seemed to lead to their chronic fatigue syndrome, which has led some researchers to believe that certain viruses may cause it.6 Immune system disorders may lead to chronic fatigue syndrome, as well as hormonal imbalances in the adrenal and pituitary glands.7 Stress that is not controlled and managed can lead to a worsening of chronic fatigue symptoms too.

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Chronic Fatigue Symptoms & Its’ Relation to Joint Pain

Obviously, the most prevalent symptom of this condition is fatigue, but there’s more to it than just that. Many people who have this disorder also experience muscle and joint pain, enlarged lymph nodes, sore throat, memory loss, poor sleep, low-grade fever, and headaches.8,9,10 Since this is a disorder that typically goes on for many months or even years, chronic fatigue is also known to lead to depression.

Is There a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Test?

Chronic fatigue syndrome can be difficult to diagnosis since the symptoms are shared with many other health conditions too.2,5,6 Unfortunately, there is no single chronic fatigue syndrome test that yet exists. Instead, it is usually necessary for a physician to rule out the possibility of other diseases, such as sleep disorders and heart disease, before arriving at a final diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Options for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Treatment

Although there is no cure for chronic fatigue syndrome and no medications that exist specifically to treat it, there are ways to manage the symptoms and keep them bearable. Since one of the most common symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome is joint pain, it is helpful for many chronic pain sufferers to use a topical cream such as JointFlex to reduce achy muscles and joint symptoms that occur with this condition. Cognitive counseling may help patients regain control of their lives by managing fatigue and joint pain symptoms.2,5,6 It is also recommended that chronic fatigue patients consult a physical therapist to find exercises that are safe to perform and that get the body moving to fight fatigue, boost energy and relieve joint pain. Simple stretching exercises and range-of-motion workouts are very effective in helping individuals overcome chronic fatigue and have enough energy to do the activities they love.

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1. Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 28, 2018 from https://www.cdc.gov/me-cfs/index.html.
2. Gluckman, S. (2018 July). Chronic fatigue syndrome. Retrieved October 28, 2018 from https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/special-subjects/chronic-fatigue-syndrome/chronic-fatigue-syndrome/.
3. About ME/CFS. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved October 28, 2018 from https://www.nih.gov/mecfs/about-mecfs.
4. Chronic fatigue syndrome. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Retrieved October 28, 2018 from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/infectious_diseases/chronic_fatigue_syndrome_85,P00618.
5. Chronic fatigue syndrome. MedlinePlus. Retrieved October 28, 2018 from https://medlineplus.gov/chronicfatiguesyndrome.html.
6. Chronic fatigue syndrome. Office of Women’s Health. Retrieved October 28, 2018 from https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/chronic-fatigue-syndrome.
7. Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome: Possible causes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 28, 2018 from https://www.cdc.gov/me-cfs/about/possible-causes.html.
8. Twisk, F. N. M. (2015 June 6). Accurate diagnosis of myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome based upon objective test methods for characteristic symptoms. World Journal of Methodology, 5, 68-87. Retrieved October 28, 2018 from National Center of Biotechnology Information https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4482824/.
9. Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome: Treatment. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 28, 2018 from https://www.cdc.gov/me-cfs/treatment/index.html/.
10. Shee, C. D. (2003). Phantom lymphadenopathy. An association with chronic fatigue syndrome. Postgraduate Medical Journal, 79, 59-60. Retrieved October 28, 2018 from https://pmj.bmj.com/content/79/927/59.citation-tools.