Fatigue and feeling unwell are the primary manifestations of CFS or ME. The manifestations can be experienced by people differently, and its severity can change in a day.


People with CFS or ME suffer from fatigue that is not relieved by sleep or rest, which leads to difficulty in undertaking everyday activities and tasks. Many people with this condition report that the feeling is overwhelming, different from a usual feeling of tiredness.

Other symptoms are as follows:

  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Headaches
  • Sore throat
  • Sleep problems
  • Dizziness
  • Heart palpitation

As mentioned above, CFS or ME is worse after an extreme workout. The episode can be delayed for a few hours or the following day after working out.

Symptoms Severity

It is common for CFS or ME to have mild to moderate symptoms, but 1 out of 4 patients can have severe manifestations in some cases. If you have severe symptoms, it is best to consult a specialist for treatment.

Here is the classification of CFS or ME symptoms:

  • Mild – Daily activities are still manageable, but with a struggle; at this point, you may be required to let go of your social activities or hobbies for you to be able to rest during your spare time.
  • Moderate – You may experience difficulty when moving around and challenges in dealing with daily activities. You may need to give up your work or study as you’re required to rest all the time. Also, sleep problems such as insomnia can manifest at this stage.

Severe – You can only manage a simple task at this stage, like toothbrushing. You may need an assistive device to move around, such as a wheelchair, as there’s a chance for you to be bed-bound or housebound.

In addition, you may experience difficulty in focusing, light and noise sensitivity, and recovery after a tiring activity may be longer such as talking too long or going somewhere.