New Delhi, May 11 (IANS) Chronic pain and chronic fatigue syndrome often coexist, unleashing a double-whammy of troubles to the person suffering from the conditions, said experts here on Thursday explaining how to manage both.
Chronic pain and fatigue are common health problems that affect millions of people in India. Chronic pain refers to any type of persistent pain that lasts for more than three months, while chronic fatigue is a condition characterised by long-term tiredness and low energy levels with even day to day activities.
Studies have reported that as many as 70 per cent of people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) also suffer from chronic pain. On the other hand, individuals with chronic pain are also more likely to experience fatigue and other symptoms associated with CFS.
“Patients who deal with CFS experience a variety of symptoms, including muscle pain, joint pain, headaches, poor memory and concentration, and a variety of other symptoms. Muscle and joint pain are common CFS symptoms because the body is unable to deal with exhaustion and lack of energy,” Dr Vivek Mahajan, Orthopaedic & Joint Replacement Surgeon, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, told IANS.
“The exact causes of chronic fatigue are not fully understood, but several factors that can increase the conditions include abnormalities in the immune system or the nervous system: autoimmune disorders such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, chronic infections, neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, hormonal imbalances, sleep disorders like sleep apnoea, restless leg syndrome, and insomnia as well as depression and anxiety,” added Dr (Major) Pankaj N. Surange, CEO & MD, IPSC India: Pain and Spine Hospital.
“A history of trauma or stress, especially childhood abuse, is a prominent risk factor for the co-occurrence of chronic fatigue and chronic pain in people in later years of life,” Dr Surange said.
He noted that women are much more susceptible to suffer from both the conditions than men. Lifestyle factors like poor sleep, lack of physical activity, and unhealthy diet may also contribute to the development of both the conditions in an individual.
While not life-threatening, the conditions can significantly impact a person’s quality of life and affect the ability to perform daily activities.
There is no cure for CFS, but there are ways to manage the symptoms, including pain relief, Dr Mahajan said.
Treatment for CFS usually involves lifestyle changes, such as getting enough rest, exercising regularly, and eating a balanced diet.
“Practising gentle exercises such as yoga, tai chi, avoiding overexertion; heat therapy like warm showers and baths, heating pads; cold therapy; pain medication; nutritional supplements like omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and vitamin D; getting adequate rest and sleep can help manage pain,” the doctor said.
“The treatment options for chronic fatigue and chronic pain depend on the underlying cause of the conditions and a person’s specific symptoms,” Dr. Surange told IANS.
“For chronic fatigue, treatment options include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), graded exercise therapy, and medication management for symptoms like pain, depression, and sleep disturbances. For chronic pain, treatment options may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, and medication management,” he added.