Rainbow at shoreline

The Massachusetts ME/CFS & FM Association, a 501(c)3 founded in 1985, exists to meet the needs of patients with ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) or FM (Fibromyalgia), their families and loved ones. The Massachusetts ME/CFS & FM Association works to educate health-care providers and the general public regarding these severely-disabling physical illnesses. We also support patients and their families and advocate for more effective treatment and research.

Research articles

Links to lists of Health Care Providers outside of Massachusetts

Since we focus primarily on Massachusetts we don't have any personal knowledge of doctors in other states.

These links list doctors (or links to lists of doctors) who are knowledgeable about both FM and ME/CFS that you might find helpful in finding a doctor near you. Please see:

http://www.cfstreatmentguide.com/doctors-and-clinics.html

https://cfsknowledgecenter.com/local-resources/

http://ilads.org/ilads_media/physician-referral/ This is a contact form where you can request names of "Lyme-aware" physicians.  We highly recommend this organization for information about Lyme disease.

We wish you the best on your journey toward better health.

Clinical Guides for Fibromyalgia

Jain AK et al, "Fibromyalgia Syndrome: Canadian Clinical Working Case Definition, Diagnostic and Treatment Protocols—A Consensus Document," l Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain 11, No. 4 (2003): 3-107. Co-published simultaneously in The Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A Clinical Case Definition for Practitioners, pp. 3-108, 2004. Editor: I.. J. Russell. ISBN: 0-7890-2574-4. © Haworth Press Inc. This is the 2003 Canadian FM Definition Consensus Document.

FM Guide for Pharmacists, by Janice Sumpton, RPh, BSc.Phm, c 2008. Written by a pharmacist, but basically an overview of diagnosis, management, and treatment of the illness which could be helpful to any health care professional, also based on the Canadian Consensus Document. This was written before the newer drugs for FM were approved. Most of the treatment emphasis is on non-pharmaceuticals. FM-CFS Canada home page

"Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A Clinical Case Definition and Guidelines for Medical Practitioners, An Overview of the Canadian Consensus Document," by Bruce Carruthers, M.D. and M. I. van de Sande, c 2005-2006 (30 pp.) This is an excellent overview for physicians with practical guidelines for diagnosis and treatment, based on the 2003 Canadian FM Definition Consensus Document.

Differential Diagnosis of ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a common and chronic disorder characterized by widespread pain, diffuse tenderness, and a number of other symptoms. The pain is widespread, affecting all four quadrants of the body, and can be severe enough to interfere with routine daily activities. It migrates, can be achy, throbbing, shooting, or stabbing, and is worse in areas used most, like the neck or back.

Individuals often say they awaken feeling as if they hadn't slept. A sudden onset of profound fatigue can occur during or following exertion. Many other symptoms are common to fibromyalgia, including stiffness on waking, memory and concentration problems, excessive sensitivity of the senses, headaches, Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ), irritable bowel, and bladder and muscle spasm.

Fibrositis, an older name, is still used interchangeably with fibromyalgia.

Although fibromyalgia is often considered an arthritis-related condition and is usually diagnosed and treated by rheumatologists, it is not truly a form of arthritis (a disease of the joints) because it does not cause inflammation or damage to the joints, muscles, or other tissues.

It is often associated with the Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) and sometimes confused with it.

Research authorities vary in viewpoint as to the relation of FM and ME/CFS, but the best research to date indicates that the two illnesses, while often associated, are different and separable—both in nature of causation and in their pathophysiologies (effects on processes in the body.)

The fact that the two illnesses are the province of separate specialties can also lead to diagnostic problems. As a rheumatologist is trained in rheumatological illnesses, there are occurrences of ME/CFS being diagnosed as FM when the physician is not well versed in the diagnosis of ME/CFS. And an infectious disease specialist may be prone to misdiagnosing FM as ME/CFS.

Therefore, when there is doubt about which illness a patient has, s/he should become familiar with the differences between the two illnesses and seek a physician who knows how to diagnose both illnesses.

Note that it is very common for a patient to be diagnosed with both FM and ME/CFS.

Learn more about the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia.
Learn more about the diagnosis of ME/CFS

Subcategories

Notice about names

The Massachusetts ME/CFS & FM Association would like to clarify the use of the various acronyms for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Chronic Fatigue & Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS) and  Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) on this site. When we generate our own articles on the illness, we will refer to it as ME/CFS, the term now generally used in the United States. When we are reporting on someone else’s report, we will use the term they use. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal agencies, including the CDC, are currently using ME/CFS. 

Massachusetts ME/CFS & FM Association changed its name in July, 2018, to reflect this consensus.