Are Fibromyalgia and CFS neurological?

Recently I have discovered a new skill,

I can put my body in a state of physical distress or discomfort by virtue of concentration. If I think about being in pain hard enough, I can develop general, actual, physical body pain across muscles and joints that can be intolerable. I can similarly turn it off by distracting myself. It is inherently linked to the mental question of “Am I in pain?”, i.e. if I ask myself that, I will be in pain. If I live my life, I won’t be(as opposed to other pain, that I notice regardless if I question it).

Browsing through the bookstore and thumbing through a few books on Fibromyalgia and CFS, it seems that most of the people suffering from these disorders is what I would consider the passive “debilitated” kind. Typically with boring jobs, and unfulfilling lives. One can argue that the lifestyle, personality, etc. are the symptoms of the underlying disease, but it just seems there are no base jumping, rock climbing, high power business executives, etc. that suffer from CFS/Fibromyalgia. I mean sure, the supposed disease would prevent you from doing that, but so does loss of limb, being wheelchair bound, etc. and we hear those “Overcoming Adversity” stories every day, yet I’ve never seen or heard of anybody overcoming (in the psychological sense) those two diseases.

Could it be that CFS/Fibromyalgia (or just one, but I’m leaning towards both) are actually how human body reacts to being a boring person in a boring lifestyle with hypochondria and unfulfilling job and family life? It just seems that unlike every other disease on the planet (short of depression), there are no happy people with those conditions. All the quotes in all the books and websites are about how horrible and unbearable their existence is, and how medical science and doctors dont’ treat them seriously. Along with this goes a giant market of books, treatments, etc. that don’t seem to be founded on any serious scientific research.

My mountain-climbing, superconductor-designing uncle has the worst case in the family. As for me, I first started noticing the symptoms at the age of six, at a time when I was enjoying school and life in general. Also, it responds well to medication and has lots of overt physical symptoms.

That said, I know some doctors speculate that there are actually two conditions being lumped under the name fibromyalgia, because they have similar patterns of symptoms.

I don’t know the first thing about CFS, not even what it stands for, so I can’t speak to that.

It has been my experience that CFS tends to strike people with highly active and energetic lives. My wife, who has CFS, ran her own video production company before being struck with it. IMHO, if CFS can be tied to a lifestyle, it would be the result of someone who did too much and overstressed themselves, not someone who got the disease because they were boring and inactive.

There is apparantly some evidence that CFS is an autoimmune disease with an inherited genetic susceptibility.

After I was injured in an auto accident, I saw many doctors to try to get a concrete diagnosis/treatment for my back pain. (Muscular.)

One of the doctors I saw suggested fibromyalgia and I was actually a bit offended, because I had the impression that it was sort of a hypochondriac’s ailment, but upon talking to other doctors, it seems to be more akin to a catch-all diagnosis. If they can’t figure out what’s wrong with you, fibromyalgia is what they declare the cause.

I feel compelled to add that I’m not bored. I actually have a great life.

CFS is chronic fatigue syndrome, which basically means that you’re tired to the point of falling asleep all the time.

There’s some recent research that suggests fibromyalgia and CFS are linked to low thyroid hormone levels, but hardly anything you’d call a smoking gun. Still, any avenue is worth investigation.

Aah, CFS and/or Fibro, the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome of the 00’s. There’s nothing obviously wrong with these people, so they must be exaggerating / faking / malingering / wrong in the head.*

CFS = Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. One symptom is ongoing, overwhelming fatigue which is not relieved by rest.

Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic pain with no obvious cause, which does not respond to pain medication. Symptoms may also include chronic fatigue and lowered mental acuity (“fibro fog”).

It’s damned hard to be a base jumping, rock climbing, high power *anything * when you’re profoundly tired and/or painful and/or confused all the time.

Someone who’s wheelchair-bound (missing a limb, whatever) does not necessarily suffer from chronic pain, fatigue, etc. Hence, some (not all) wheelchair-bound people are perfectly able to be active, high-powered, type-A people.

cwPartner has Fibro despite having an interesting job with lots of public contact (not to mention my stimulating companionship). He’s an enthusiastic rider (horses and bikes) who enjoys getting out for a good long walk or day hike. He tells me he’s pretty happy, overall. He’d be happier if he didn’t hurt all the time, didn’t feel tired most of the time, and didn’t feel like he can’t remember his own name half the time.

*I’m being facetious. I suffered from, and was successfully treated for, carpal tunnel syndrome in the early '90’s. cwPartner was diagnosed with Fibro after many years of unexplained pain and fatigue.

Aha, thank you.