The search for relief from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can often feel like a no-win situation. Because Chronic Fatigue is difficult to treat with traditional medical care, patients are often forced to visit multiple doctors and fill a variety of prescriptions in the quest to alleviate their symptoms. On the other hand, the main characteristic of Chronic Fatigue is fatigue ; this presents an exhausting and often frustrating quandary for patients.
Chiropractic treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a drug-free, long-term, and effective solution. Chiropractic is different from the medical model of care in that it seeks to correct structural problems in the body in order to eradicate the condition, rather than relying on medications to temporarily relieve symptoms.
Understanding Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
There is no universally accepted medical explanation for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Patients usually experience several recurrences of the illness before receiving a diagnosis. This is often because many of the symptoms of CFS mimic those of other conditions. Also, patients might have no visible signs of illness or may experience periods of remission. Additionally, there is no laboratory test to pinpoint any disease or infection.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) developed the diagnostic criteria for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 1994. Some of the symptoms that must be present in order to diagnose CFS include:
- Fatigue that is persistent and not related to exertion. This fatigue causes a serious decline in normal levels of activity and cannot be relieved by sleep or rest
- Memory or concentration problems
- Tender lymph nodes
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain (with no redness or swelling)
Other symptoms may include:
- Irritable Bowel syndrome
- Mental exhaustion/depression/irritability
- Sore Throat
- Sensitivity and allergies to certain medications, chemicals, foods, or odors
Medications for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
All medications carry inherent risks and side effects . In many cases, patients with Chronic Fatigue are subjected to trial runs with multiple medications, none of which were expressly designed to treat this condition. Such drugs may include antidepressants; blood pressure medications; antimicrobial drugs (antibiotics and antivirals); anti-inflammatory agents; immunologically active drugs; and various painkillers. In every case, drugs offer a temporary and unhealthy solution to the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
The Spine and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
There are many factors that can negatively affect the proper alignment of the spine. Misalignments of the spine are known as subluxations, and they can occur as a result of a trauma, or as the consequence of long-term poor posture. For some patients, an injury may have occurred that has either been forgotten or ignored, until unhealthy symptoms—such as those associated with Chronic Fatigue—begin to affect the body.
The health of the spine is a crucial factor in ensuring the correct functioning of the body’s nervous system. When the nervous system is jeopardized due to subluxations in any part of the spine, the effects can be disastrous. We know this is true because Chronic Fatigue Syndrome rarely exists in a vacuum; patients suffering from the disease usually have concurrent health issues such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Fibromyalgia.
The central nervous system coordinates all of the activities of the body and is comprised of the brain, which is protected by the skull, and the spinal cord. The spinal cord is protected by the vertebrae, or bones, of the spine. When the spine is not in proper alignment, the entire central nervous system is affected, including the autonomic nervous system, which is part of the nervous system that controls the involuntary functions of the body.
In addition to nervous system disorder, a misaligned spine is also an inefficient one. This may lead to further fatigue and strain. When the vertebrae, sacrum, hips, and pelvis are positioned correctly, less energy is required to support the body. In particular, the shape of the cervical spine (the neck) is important. When the neck is misaligned, the weight of the head (normally ten to 14 pounds) increases exponentially. Carrying this added burden can create or aggravate exhaustion.