Natural treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome
What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a long-term illness with a wide range of symptoms. The most common symptom is extreme tiredness.
Chronic fatigue syndrome is also known as ME, which stands for myalgic encephalomyelitis. Many people refer to the condition as chronic fatigue syndrome/ME. Chronic fatigue syndrome/ME can affect anyone, including children. It’s more common in women and tends to develop between your mid-20s and mid-40s.
What are the Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
The main symptoms of CFS are feeling extremely tired and unwell. People may also have other symptoms of CFS, including:
- sleep that isn’t refreshing
- muscle or joint pain headaches
- problems thinking, remembering, or concentrating
- flu-like symptoms
- feeling dizzy or sick
- fast or irregular heartbeats (heart palpitations) – Most people find overexercising makes their symptoms worse.
People with CFS may also notice emotional symptoms, such as a loss of interest in favourite activities.
Also, different people with CFS can have different symptoms. Many chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms are similar to those of other health conditions, like mono Lyme disease depression. And the symptoms of people with chronic fatigue syndrome can vary over time, even in the same person.
This makes treating the illness complicated. No single medicine or treatment can address all the possible symptoms.
For the majority of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, work, school, and family activities are significantly reduced for extended periods of time.
Often, courses of remission and relapse of symptoms occur, which make the illness difficult to manage. People who feel better for a period may overextend their activities, and the result can be a worsening of their symptoms with a relapse of the illness.
Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome have lower blood pressure overall suggesting that the impaired cardiac pump may be leading to reduced output and blood pressure, which leads to reduced perfusion of downstream organs and CFS symptoms as a consequence.
Does chronic fatigue syndrome affect the immune system?
Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome sometimes have weakened immune systems, but doctors don’t know whether this is enough to cause the disorder. People with chronic fatigue syndrome can also sometimes have abnormal hormone levels.
Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome an autoimmune disease?
ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome shares some features of autoimmune illnesses (diseases in which the immune system attacks healthy tissues in its own body, like in rheumatoid arthritis). For example, both ME/CFS and most autoimmune diseases are more common in women and both are characterised by increased inflammation.
What causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
It’s not known what causes chronic fatigue syndrome/ME, but there are a number of theories – for example, it may be triggered by an infection, or certain factors could make you more likely to develop the illness. People with CFS may experience the below symptoms
Suggested causes or triggers for chronic fatigue syndrome/ME include:
- problems with the immune system
- a hormone imbalance
- mental health problems, such as stress and emotional trauma
- your genes – chronic fatigue syndrome/ME seems to be more common in some families
The immune system of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome appears to be impaired slightly, but it’s unclear if this impairment is enough to actually cause the disorder.
Chronic fatigue syndrome may involve numerous body systems and chronic pain. While the cause is not understood, proposed mechanisms include biological, genetic infectious, and physical or psychological stress affecting the biochemistry of the body.
Fatigue in chronic fatigue syndrome is not due to strenuous ongoing exertion, is not much relieved by rest, and is not due to a previous medical condition.
Scientists have been researching chronic fatigue syndrome for many years, but they still aren’t sure what causes it. Many doctors believe that the way some conditions interact in the body and mind might leave some people at risk for chronic fatigue syndrome. For example, if someone has a and is under a lot of stress, this combination might make them more likely to develop chronic fatigue syndrome.
Problems with energy production have been found in ME/CFS and have been primarily linked to mitochondrial dysfunction.
Diagnosing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
There is not a specific test for chronic fatigue syndrome/ME, so it’s diagnosed based on your symptoms and by ruling out other conditions that could be causing your symptoms.
As the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome/ME are similar to those of many common illnesses that usually get better on their own, a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome/ME may be considered if you do not get better as quickly as expected.
Doctors also usually order blood, urine (pee), or other tests to check for conditions that cause similar symptoms. They may send a person to see other specialists, such as a sleep specialist or a neurologist, to help with the diagnosis.
How is ME/chronic fatigue syndrome Treated?
There is currently no cure for chronic fatigue syndrome. Most of the treatments (CBT, gradual exercises program, medication) available aim to reduce the symptoms.
Supplements containing essential fatty acids (EFAs), in particular, fish oil supplements with EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), have become an extremely popular form of treatment for ME/chronic fatigue syndrome.
Graded exercise therapy (GET) is a structured exercise programme that aims to gradually increase how long you can carry out a physical activity. It usually involves exercise that raises your heart rate, such as swimming or walking. Your exercise programme can be adapted to your physical capabilities.
How can an Osteopath help my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
There are a few treatment options for CFS. Alternative medicine to treat CFS can be to see an osteopath. Research has shown an established a link between poor lymphatic drainage and chronic fatigue syndrome. Indeed recent investigations have led to a probable cause of the nervous system being overloaded resulting in a build-up of toxins in the fluid around the brain and the spinal cord.
An osteopath will focus on increasing the potential of lymphatic drainage throughout the whole body. They manually stimulate the fluid motion around the brain and spinal cord. Massage soft tissues in the head, neck, back, and chest to direct all of the toxins out of the lymphatic system and into the blood. They are then eventually detoxified by the liver.
Once the nervous system is free of toxins it begins to function more normally. Providing the patient doesn’t overdo it, their symptoms should gradually improve.
When blood and lymphatics flow freely, the tissues can perform their functions without impedance. With the occurrence of trauma (physical or emotional), the tissues contract, twist, and compress. The fluid flow becomes obstructed. Micro-climates of under perfusion result, and are considered to be a significant contributor to the onset of disease. Osteopathic manipulation restores freedom in the tissues, normalizes fluid flow and thus inherent physiologic function (healing) follows.