Thursday, April 29, 2010 Rosedarling, Community Member, asks

Q: The difference between Chronic Pain Syndrome (CPS) and Fibromyalgia

I am wondering if and what is the difference between the two of them. I was reading up on both and found that they are talked about like two different things. It said that if you have CPS you are at a higher risk for Fibro. My hope is to try to figure this out or any other pain disorders that can look a lot like fibro.

But CPS I know nothing about and would like to learn more. Thanks.


I am still trying to figure out what is wrong with me and doing lots of researching.

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Answers (3)
Cort, Health Guide
4/29/10 11:14pm

CRPS and FM have some real similarities and I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't end up being closely related to each other. CRPS, however, however tends to affect one's arm or one's foot in a very dramatic manner; there's often localized swelling and changes in skin color or texture accompanied by intense pain. The problem appears to lie in sympathetic nervous system dysfunction which also plays a role in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome and other diseases like this. The difference is that CRPS tends to be more localized and obvious while the problems in fibromyalgia and CFS appear to be more generalized (ie body-wide) and less physically obvious.

Huskerdu, Community Member
4/29/10 9:54pm

I don't have an answer to this sorry, but I just think it's an excellent question. I've been wondering the same thing myself. I've been diagnosed by a couple of neurologists with CRPS and it just sounded a hell of allot like Fibro. Hopefully someone will help us out with an answer. Btw, the best thing I have found so far for CRPS is stretching, walking, although it's not easy, acupuncture, myotherapy and some relaxation meditation which I've been taught by a Buddhist monk who was a neurosceintist.


That's the 'natural' stuff. On the drug side of things I was detoxed via a 10 day Ketamine IV infusion from 600mg per day of Oxycontin in hospital and put on 30mg per day of Physeptone tablets (methadone) and this although a hell of allot smaller dose than the Oxy is fairly useful. I think it's because it's because it's got such a long half life. Also Diazapam, Clonazapam, 10mg of Oxynorm (short acting Oxy) 4 times a day for breakthrough pain. I think a 1000mg might be more appropriate (just joking) but 10 doesn't do a hell of allot and just a couple of Paracetamol tablets 4 times a day as I'm told by my specialist that it makes opiates last longer.


Regarding the Ketamine you go back every 6 months and just have top ups and it only takes an overnight stay after the initial withdrawal from mass opiod use. Personaly I would be allot happier if it was about every 2 months as it's great for mood inhancment/depression and the physical pain. However, the Medical board will only allow it twice yearly and I'm getting a little old for Rave parties Surprised 


Anyway, hope there's some answers coming out way. Cheers, Ken.

Karen Lee Richards, Health Guide
5/ 2/10 4:08am

Information about chronic pain syndrome (CPS) seems to be somewhat vague and poorly defined.  It may be used to describe pain of six months or longer that doesn't seem to have a physical cause and doesn't respond well to standard treatments.  It is generally thought to be related to some kind of psychological disorder or linked to an emotionally traumatic event. 


Fibromyagia (FM) is generally diagnosed by:

  • A history of widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body for a minimum duration of three months, and
  • Pain in at least 11 of 18 designated tender points when four kilograms (about 10 pounds) of pressure are applied.

People with FM also usually have extreme fatigue and are not able to get refreshing sleep. 


There are a lot of similar symptoms and it can be difficult to distinguish between the two conditions.

Barbara G., Community Member
7/ 1/12 8:49pm

CRPS is not from emotional trauma. There are emotional issues that accompany living with chronic pain, but it is caused by either tissue or nerve damage. The National Institute of Health has a good summary My partner had a Qsart test that confirmed her diagnosis for the workman's comp insurance company - trust me they would have ignored it if they could. Another good site is 

Karen Lee Richards, Health Guide
7/ 1/12 9:12pm

I think there has been some confusion concerning this question.  The lady who asked the original question was asking about chronic pain syndrome (CPS) but most of the answers have focused on chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS), which is an entirely different thing.  I completely agree with you, Barbara, CRPS is not due to emotional trauma, however, CPS by definition does involve some emotional or psychological issues.  I kind of wish CRPS was still called reflex sympathetic dystrophy so there wasn't so much confusion concerning the different names. 


I appreciate you standing up for CRPS and providing good resources – also for giving me the opportunity to clarify the difference between CPS and CRPS. 

kimme, Community Member
10/22/12 3:32pm

CPS stands for Central Pain Syndrome, which is every bit if not more painful than CRPS.  So, obviously there is a lot of misunderstanding.  CPS (Central Pain Syndrome) is described by NINDS.  For a real look at the torturous existence people with CPS have, go to PainOnline, especially in For Doctors: "Dimensions and Definition of Central Pain".  And I will just forewarn you that CPS is NOT from psychological or emotional issues/trauma; it was originally thought to only be a "Post-Stroke" pain, but has since been determined to be from damage to the Central Nervous System as well and sometimes brain, spinal cord, CNS injury.  It is considered to be one of the worst pain conditions out there, and is literally torturous, especially the way the medical and legal communities have been miseducated and leave people with such a condition to be so tortured and not treated that suicide has been the only option.  Perhaps in their next life they will have a condition from that psychological trauma.


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By Rosedarling, Community Member— Last Modified: 10/22/12, First Published: 04/29/10