Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter June 29, 2019

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and chronic pain conditions – vitally protective systems gone wrong

Maria Pedersen


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and chronic pain syndromes represent major health problems in society. These conditions are disabling and strongly associated with low quality of life. Even though CFS and chronic pain are separate conditions, they have strikingly much in common. Both pain and fatigue are important sensations with protective value in an acute situation. It can be life-threatening not to be aware of them. However, as these symptoms become chronic, their protective roles decrease and instead they become health problems. Our understanding of the perception of pain and fatigue has shifted through the years, from a dualistic biomedical point of view to a holistic biopsychosocial understanding. This combined with the increasing evidence of how our brain works in a predictive/anticipatory manner, gives a deeper understanding of why treatments like cognitive behavior therapies and stress relief therapies can help these patients recover to better health.

Corresponding author: Maria Pedersen, MD, PhD, Department of Pediatrics, Vestre Viken Hospital Trust, Drammen, Norway, Phone: +47 95771170

  1. Author’s statements

  2. Research funding: Author states that no specific funding was involved.

  3. Conflict of interest: Author states no conflict of interest.

  4. Informed consent: Not applicable.

  5. Ethical approval: Not applicable.


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Received: 2019-05-04
Revised: 2019-05-27
Accepted: 2019-06-04
Published Online: 2019-06-29
Published in Print: 2019-10-25

©2019 Scandinavian Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston. All rights reserved.