Navigating Surgery with Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Tips for a Smooth Recovery


Facing surgery can be daunting, especially for those with fibromyalgia (FMS) and chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you with navigating surgery with fibromyalgia and ensure a smooth recovery while managing your condition effectively.

surgery with fibromyalgia

Understanding the Challenges:

Post-Operative Pain:

  • FMS and ME/CFS involve hyperalgesia, amplifying post-surgical pain.
  • Central sensitization may trigger symptom flares even during anesthesia.
  • Recommendations:
    • Request opiate pain medication before surgery.
    • Opt for long-acting local anesthetic on incisions.
    • Advocate for stronger pain medication post-surgery.

Muscle Strain from Positioning:

  • Surgery positioning may strain muscles.
  • Suggestions:
    • Request IV placement close to the body.
    • Inquire about wearing a soft neck collar if an endotracheal tube is used.

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Cellular Depletion:

  • Low magnesium and potassium levels may lead to abnormal heart rhythms under anesthesia.
  • Solutions:
    • Check serum levels pre-surgery and address deficiencies.
    • Ensure adequate magnesium and potassium intake post-surgery.


  • ME/CFS-related low plasma volumes may increase the risk of dehydration.
  • Solution:
    • Prioritize hydration before and after surgery.

Reactions to Medications:

  • Sensitivity to anesthesia and muscle relaxants can complicate recovery.
  • Strategies:
    • Communicate known allergies and sensitivities to healthcare providers.
    • Discuss suitable medications for pain management.

Discontinuing Drugs & Supplements:

  • Discontinuation of medications and supplements pre-surgery may trigger symptom flares.
  • Recommendations:
    • Consult healthcare providers early and plan medication adjustments.
    • Prepare for symptom fluctuations and minimize stress during medication hiatus.

Other Considerations:

  • Sleep Apnea: Address potential complications with obstructive sleep apnea and anesthesia.
  • Slow Healing: Prepare for a longer recovery period and incorporate gentle stretching and rehabilitation post-incision healing.
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Navigating surgery with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome requires proactive planning and communication with healthcare providers. By understanding the challenges and implementing strategies for symptom management, you can optimize your recovery and ensure the best possible outcome. Remember to prioritize self-care and seek support from medical professionals and mental health counselors as needed.

Seek Professional Help

By recognizing and harnessing the power of exercise in improving your health, individuals can take proactive steps towards enhancing their overall well-being and quality of life.

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