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What are the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome?

Q: I am 25 years old and suffering from acute pain and fatigue in my body for the past 6 years. It all started after I acquired chicken pox 7 years ago. I recuperated fully from the disease, but after a few days, I was down with high fever, which lasted for more than a week and I was bed ridden. While I was recuperating from the fever, I experienced chronic fatigue and pain in my arms and legs. I had difficulty in doing daily mundane tasks like brushing my teeth or even walking. I could not put my body weight on one of my legs and couldn't even hold a pencil. I experienced numbness in my joints, around the shoulder and lower back, which was eased by massage. The weakness subsided after a while, but the joint below the skull and around the left jaw started cracking and making popping sounds accompanied by pain. I underwent many tests and treatments - both alternative and conventional, but without any success. I underwent MRI of the brain and spine, which were OK. Currently I experience cracking, grinding and popping accompanied by pain from the joints around the neck, jaw and lower back. These symptoms are felt more often on the left side than on the right side. My memory has become very porous and I forget things, which happened a short while ago. I am currently not taking any medicines or undergoing any physical therapy. I have encountered people with the similar symptoms over the Internet and their problem has been termed as Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD) by medical experts. What is the diagnosis of my disease?

A:Based on the tests you have had done it appears that you have no detectable abnormality and yet you have symptoms which impact on your ability to function. This is frustrating, both for the patient and the physician. You could well have chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia. There is no test, which can prove the diagnosis. The diagnosis is made purely based on the patient's history and physical findings and the absence of any other disease, which could cause the symptoms you mention. Some of the criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome include: 1. Problems with short-term memory and concentration 2. Sore throat 3. Tender lymph nodes 4. Muscle ache 5. Joint pain without swelling 6. Non-fresh sleep 7. On and off headaches 8. Marked fatigue after exercise lasting > 24 hours No single medication has been found to be effective but many physicians give a trial of an antidepressant initially even if you are not depressed). Other treatment regimens include antivirals and corticosteroids. My suggestion is you see a physician who treats chronic fatigue and get his opinion


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