Fatigue can be a relentless symptom with fibromyalgia. Chronic fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of FM, right with deep muscle pain and body aches. But it isn’t normal fatigue. The feeling of fatigue, weakness and just exhaustion can lead to things like social isolation and depression. Even hours of rest doesn’t alleviate it. It is often described as flu-like, crippling and exhausting.
The fatigue with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) often coincides with mood disturbances, anxiety, or depression. People with fibromyalgia may describe their sleep as unrefreshing or light. Some people with fibromyalgia have pain and achiness around the joints in the neck, shoulder, back, and hips. This makes it even more difficult to sleep and worsens their daytime feelings of sleepiness and fatigue.
I have been having an immense problem with fatigue for some time now. It is insane how bad it is. Like dragging your body around when it doesn’t want to move and just wants to sleep. It is horrible in the morning, but it doesn’t really improve much. Sometimes on my way to work I have almost fallen asleep. With long blinks and grogginess. Sometimes that lasts all day. And nap attacks all the time. But the weight of the fatigue makes it hard to think or do anything at all. It is so exhausting to just move. You can’t rest though, because laying down for a nap, well that hurts… laying down for any period of time hurts the ankles, knees, hips, and shoulders. But I want to. I want to just rest.
Results of qualitative studies provide insights into the encumbrance that fatigue inflicts on patients with fibromyalgia and the concomitant problem of articulating to their doctors what is wrong. Patients with fibromyalgia describe fatigue as ‘an inescapable or overwhelming feeling of profound physical tiredness’, ‘weakness in the muscles’, ‘an uncontrollable, unpredictable constant state of never being rested’, ‘a ghastly sensation of being totally drained of every fiber of energy’, ‘not proportional to effort exerted’, ‘not relieved by rest’, ‘having to do things more slowly’, and ‘an invisible foe that creeps upon them unannounced and without warning’ [8, 18, 19]. Patients also report that fatigue is interwoven, influenced, and intensified by pain, and is sometimes more severe than pain . Although fatigue is reported by both men and women with fibromyalgia, one study demonstrated that men had less fatigue compared to women and a second study reported that men tend to focus more on pain and women on fatigue [8, 20]Beyond pain in fibromyalgia: insights into the symptom of fatigue
Basic tips for fatigue are:
- Planning rest breaks for before activity– because we literally need to build up the energy to do anything.
- Change routines- to fit your fatigue, if you can, in fact, do this. So plan down times. Plan rest times. Plan recover times. Pacing in the extreme, people, pacing, pacing, pacing.
- Exercise- is a big one. Not major exercise. Mild exercise. Whatever you can literally manage. Start real slow. Like a ten-minute walk sort of exercise. But it can be stimulating.
- Short naps- like power naps. Not late in the day. 90 minutes being the longest because that is a sleep cycle.
- Sleep hygiene– well we have serious issues with sleep as is, so always a go idea to have good sleep hygiene.
- Stress reduction– I think this is always on the list and likely because the fatigue is caused by a lot of other factors including pain, so reducing stress can sometimes help manage our other symptoms.
Personally, I am increasing my B12 and starting Rhodiola supplement wise, hoping for Some sort of boost.