Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients have a persistent tiredness and exhaustion that make regular daily activities challenging. Medical treatments may deal with some of the symptoms; however, alternative care, such as chiropractic, may offer natural relief to patients who suffer from this disorder. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) leads sufferers into feeling so tired that they cannot perform normal activities throughout the day. Women are much more likely to develop CFS, which can last from a month to several years (and may be intermittent). The causes are generally not agreed upon in the medical community, but the symptoms include severe and sudden fatigue (often after the flu), low grade fever/chills, sore throat and swollen glands, joint/muscle aches, poor sleep, headaches, inability to concentrate/memory issues, and mood changes. It is clearly a distinct change in lifestyle and behavior. In general, it is thought to be caused by either a virus or immune system reaction, and the risks increase in patients with anxiety/stress, flu illnesses that persist, depression, and poor eating habits.1
Treatments for CFS
Once doctors rule out other diseases with tests, they may treat the patient who has chronic fatigue syndrome with the use of medications, herbs, vitamins, and dietary changes. They may also recommend rest, exercise, and time. Besides cognitive behavioral therapy, there are a few drug therapies that doctors might recommend. Doctors could prescribe antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, antihistamines, anti-inflammatory drugs (i.e., ibuprofen), or acetaminophen (non-aspirin). Aside from traditional medical treatments, there are even vitamin and nutritional supplements a patient can take. Patients are advised to avoid processed foods, saturated fats, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. They can increase their intake of fresh vegetables, legumes, whole grains, proteins, and essential fatty acids. In terms of supplementation, patients may be asked to take magnesium, NADH, DHEA, vitamin B12, beta-carotene, L-carnitine, vitamin D, Echinacea, ginseng, or other homeopathic remedies (to reduce stress, moodiness, and exhaustion).2
Chiropractic Care for CFS
CFS may be the result of a dysfunctional immune system, an iron deficiency, low blood sugar, low blood pressure, hormones, viruses, adrenal gland issues, heavy metal toxicity, parasites, or candida (yeast). Because there are so many disagreements over the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome, chiropractors often choose to take a holistic approach for the patient.3 Many patients might see a chiropractor because they have musculoskeletal complaints, which resulted from their chronic fatigue syndrome. Chiropractors may examine the patient’s diet and suggest supplements. They could look for food allergies, and recommend detoxification programs, in addition to assisting a patient with achieving a more healthy diet.4 Chiropractic adjustments help a patient become more aligned. This reduces stress on the body and joints, in turn giving the patient more energy. Regular chiropractic care can also boost a patient’s immune system.5 Stress caused by misalignment of the spine affects the efficiency of the immune system. Subluxation is the term for this spinal misalignment that irritates nerve pathways and affects the organ systems in the body. The immune system becomes compromised, increasing the patient’s susceptibility to many diseases. Chiropractic adjustments fix these subluxations by realigning the spine, returning the functionality that was lost to the immune system.6 Adjustments can activate the brain and cerebellum and “improve the neurological function and reduce CFS symptoms.”7
Massage for CFS
Therapy through the use of massage is another natural option for treating chronic fatigue syndrome. Massage is a way to minimize anxiety and restlessness and improve the quality of the patient’s sleep. Patients who are not well enough to exercise on their own benefit from massage because the external manipulation promotes circulation. Deep tissue massage is often utilized for its ability to reach muscle tissues which are located several layers below the epidermal layer. The increased pressure and slower movements of deep tissue massage stimulate capillaries in the soft tissue and improve circulation in the blood. The patient should be sure to seek out a trained massage therapist to receive the best possible care. Massage could be used along with chiropractic care, acupuncture, and herbal remedies.8 Acupuncture appears to relieve symptoms like chronic pain, insomnia, and depression, which are aspects of chronic fatigue syndrome. Acupuncture seems to stimulate the nervous system, releasing neurotransmitters that reduce sensitivity to pain and stress and promoting relaxation. Other symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, such as musculoskeletal pain, headache, sleep problems, tiredness, and depression, might be relieved by acupuncture. Though it began as a tried-and-true treatment in eastern medicine, acupuncture has more recently gained a lot of research and popularity in western medicine. Acupuncture is recommended to be sought in addition other treatment options, such as chiropractic care, massage, and dietary and lifestyle changes.9 All of these techniques and treatments are meant to relieve and shorten the symptoms and duration CFS and improve the overall mental and physical well-being of the patient.
1, 2 http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/chronic-fatigue-000035.ht