In England, Fibromyalgia is called M.E., or Myalgic Encephalopathy. What we call Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is considered to be a manifestation of M.E., except that in certain cases, fatigue is the most prominent symptom instead of pain.
Dr. John Lowe agreed (he passed away not too long ago) with this idea. British researchers have newly classified fibromyalgia (M.E.) into 7 sets of symptoms, which are simple gradations from fatigue to pain as the major symptom. These gradations are genetically influenced. They are as follows:
• High anxiety and depression levels, along with poor sleep and high pain levels.
• Significant post-exercise fatigue and joint and muscle pains.
• Mild symptoms–the mildest form of the disease.
• Moderate levels of body pain and sleep problems. (More common.)
• Stomach complaints and the most marked muscle weakness.
• Specifically connected to fatigue. (More common.)
• Seven had the most severe symptoms including pain, swollen glands, and headaches.
I think this definition for M.E. is pretty telling. People with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can be just as disabled as people with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Pain. So some people are disabled by pain, others by fatigue, and still others by the brain fog and anxiety brought on by either. We have many visitors to this website who are from the U.K. I think the British way of classifying variations of M.E. is right on the money.
When you look at the huge list of possible symptoms that come along with having Fibromyalgia, you can imagine the variations that might occur within that symptom profile. I had a huge number of these symptoms but didn’t deal with any urinary tract or bladder symptoms. For me, Irritable Bowel symptoms came and went, but I knew of others who really suffered badly from Bowel problems.
It really is a spectrum and a continuum of possibilities (most of them awful), and the M.E. classifications show that.