ME and CFS Medical Abnormalities – Motor Function


Following is a list of articles about abnormalities in motor function in ME and CFS.

Links to the more than 1,000 peer-reviewed journal articles are listed on the ME and CFS Medical Abnormalities page of this website.


Rowe PC, Marden CL, Flaherty MAK, Jasion SE, Cranston EM, Fontaine KR, Violand RL. Two-Year Follow-Up of Impaired Range of Motion in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. J Pediatr. 2018 Jun 1. PMID: 29866593

In association with multimodal therapy, young people with chronic fatigue syndrome experienced progressively less impairment in range of motion over 2 years, correlating with other physical improvements.


Rasouli O, Vasseljen O, Fors EA, Lorås HW, Stensdotter AK. Lower regulatory frequency for postural control in patients with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. PLoS One. 2018 Apr 4;13(4):e0195111. PMID: 29617424

Postural disequilibrium reported in fibromyalgia (FM) and CFS may be explained by similar deviations in postural control strategies. Patients performed 60 s of quiet standing on a force platform in each of three conditions: 1) firm surface with vision, 2) firm surface without vision and, 3) compliant surface with vision. Both the CFS- and the FM-group differed from the control group. Larger postural sway and insufficient control was found in patients compared to controls, with no significant differences between the two patient groups.


Serrador JM, Quigley KS, Zhao C, Findley T, Natelson BH. Balance deficits in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with and without fibromyalgia. NeuroRehabilitation. 2018;42(2):235-246. PMID: 29562557

The goal of this study was to determine if CFS patients demonstrated verified balance deficits and if this was affected by comorbid fibromyalgia (FM). The major findings are that poor balance may be associated with poorer self-reported physical health. In addition, CFS patients seemed to rely preferentially on visual inputs, regardless of whether it was correct. The finding that vestibular function may be impaired in patients with CFS+FM but not in those with CFS alone suggests that the pathophysiology of CFS+FM may differ.


Rasouli O, Fors EA, Borchgrevink PC, Öhberg F, Stensdotter AK. Gross and fine motor function in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. J Pain Res. 2017 Feb 7;10:303-309. PMID: 28223840

This paper aimed to investigate motor proficiency in fine and gross motor function, with a focus on reaction time (RT) and movement skill, in patients with fibromyalgia (FM) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) compared to healthy controls (HC). Compared to controls, both CFS and FM groups displayed significantly longer RT in the gait initiation task.


Rasouli O, Stensdotter AK, Van der Meer ALH. TauG-guidance of dynamic balance control during gait initiation in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2016 Aug;37:147-152. PMID: 27474799

Impaired postural control has been reported in static conditions in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, but postural control in dynamic tasks have not yet been investigated. Thus, we investigated measurements from a force plate to evaluate dynamic balance control during gait initiation in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia compared to matched healthy controls. The findings revealed a lower level of dynamic postural control in both fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome compared to controls.


Eyskens JB, Nijs J, Wouters K, Moorkens G. Reduced gait automaticity in female patients with chronic fatigue syndrome: Case-control study. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2015;52(7):805-14. PMID: 26745400

Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) report difficulties walking for a prolonged period of time. Less automated walking was observed in patients with CFS than in nondisabled controls.


Rowe PC, Marden CL, Flaherty MA, Jasion SE, Cranston EM, Johns AS, Fan J, Fontaine KR, Violand RL. Impaired range of motion of limbs and spine in chronic fatigue syndrome. J Pediatr. 2014 Aug;165(2):360-6. PMID: 24929332

Impaired range of motion is more common in subjects with CFS than in healthy adolescents and young adults matched by sex and joint hypermobility. Adding a longitudinal strain to the nerves and soft tissues provoked symptoms in some subjects with CFS.


Paul L, Rafferty D, Wood L, Maclaren W. Gait characteristics of subjects with chronic fatigue syndrome and controls at self-selected and matched velocities. J Neuroeng Rehabil. 2008 May 27;5:16. PMID: 18505580

Gait velocity or pattern can be used to monitor patients’ progress in CFS.


Paul LM, Wood L, Maclaren W. The effect of exercise on gait and balance in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Gait Posture. 2001 Jul;14(1):19-27. PMID: 11378421

CFS patients were different in gait parameter than normal people. Heart rate responses demonstrated that both groups were exercising at similar loads, although this was perceived to be higher by the CFS group.


Gordon R, Michalewski HJ, Nguyen T, Gupta S, Starr A. Cortical motor potential alterations in chronic fatigue syndrome. Int J Mol Med. 1999 Nov;4(5):493-9. PMID: 10534571

CFS patients have slowed reaction times reduced premovement-related potentials, suggesting that central motor mechanisms accompanying motor response preparation were impaired in CFS for some tasks.


Saggini R, Pizzigallo E, Vecchiet J, Macellari V, Giacomozzi C. Alteration of spatial-temporal parameters of gait in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients. J Neurol Sci. 1998 Jan 21;154(1):18-25. PMID: 9543318

The gait of CFS patients revealed significant abnormalities in the symmetry indices of the bilateral parameters and in the linear relationships among parameters, and between these parameters and the physical characteristics of the patients. The abnormalities were present as from the beginning of the gait, which indicates that they are unlikely to be caused by the rapid increasing fatigue. This strengthens the hypothesis of a direct involvement of the central nervous system (CNS) in the onset of the disease.


Boda WL, Natelson BH, Sisto SA, Tapp WN. Gait abnormalities in chronic fatigue syndrome. J Neurol Sci. 1995 Aug;131(2):156-61. PMID: 7595641

The researchers evaluated their clinical impression that patients with CFS did not walk normally, finding that they did indeed have objective gait abnormalities.


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