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Why do chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) symptoms increase after exercise?

Dawn Marcus
Neurology
Researchers at the Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy in Belgium reported increases in both fatigue and pain after a walking exercise in people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Furthermore, pain increase was also still noted 24 hours after exercise. Although exercise is typically expected to increase the levels of pain-relieving chemicals, such as endorphins, in healthy individuals, research by Whiteside and colleagues showed that pain thresholds actually decreased with exercise in people with chronic fatigue. This study suggests that these people have an abnormal biological response to exercise, resulting in increased perceptions of and sensitivity to pain and fatigue and, consequently, symptoms such as post-exertional malaise or fatigue.
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