We all get tired. A good night’s sleep usually leaves us feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever the day ahead has to throw at us. However, there is a difference between normal tiredness and fatigue. There are a number of individuals who are diagnosed with a condition known as chronic fatigue syndrome or CFS. It is not easy to diagnose as the symptoms will often mimic other illnesses which have to be ruled out first. Let us look at CFS before moving on to other conditions, or different aspects of our lives that can cause fatigue.
What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
It is a condition that is more prevalent than people realise, and often affect women more than men. It seems to be more common among people between the ages of 40 to 50 years old. There are a number of symptoms, of which some or all may be present. Every case is different, and it is important to seek medical advice to ensure the correct diagnosis is made.
Even if getting a full night’s sleep, CFS sufferers report that it is usually unrefreshing sleep. They still feel fatigued after waking up. There can be a lack of concentration and difficulty in focusing on simple day to day tasks; from getting up and getting dressed, to being able to get to and from work, or planning and cooking simple meals. Extreme tiredness and a feeling of utter exhaustion can last for up to a day or more after the individual has carried out a mental or physical task.
The physical symptoms such as swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck and under the arms could be present too. Pain in the joints that is not linked to any swelling or redness may happen as well. This kind of pain moves to different joints around the body too. The muscles can also become tender and painful without any explanation. Sufferers could also experience headaches and sore throats. Memory loss is part of the symptoms as well.
With some or all of these symptoms, it is no wonder that CFS is a very debilitating illness. Sufferers are often diagnosed with depression, are unable to care for their children, or carry out the normal spousal functions. They often have to take prolonged time off work as well. Leading on from this, the individual can become withdrawn, lose confidence in being able to function and lead a “normal life”, and can be very socially isolated.
Other forms of fatigue
There are going to be other forms of fatigue that are not linked to CFS. This is why, as noted above, it is very important that patients seek medical advice from their GP in the first instance in order to get the proper diagnosis. New parents know the constant fatigue of looking after a baby who does not sleep through the night. There are other organic conditions that manifest themselves in fatigue such as leukaemia or diabetes. Depression or trauma are also linked to extreme tiredness as well as an unhealthy lifestyle. Feeling ‘lifeless’ and with less energy can mean that the nervous system is not working as it should as well. Sufferers of back pain can also experience fatigue through not being able to sleep comfortably. If they are on strong painkillers, these prescription drugs can also affect the natural sleep cycle.
The nervous system uses the brain to control all of the body’s functions including the metabolic rate and energy levels. Nerves run from the brain down through the spinal cord which acts as a protection for the nervous system. If the spine is not properly aligned, damage can occur to the nervous system which throws off the internal balance of the body. This misalignment can manifest itself by causing extreme tiredness and a lack of energy.
How can Chiropractic Care help?
The benefit of chiropractic care is that chiropractors treat the whole person, and do not take each symptom separately. Chiropractors take a holistic overview, and will arrange to meet with the individual to talk through all aspects of their lifestyle. While chiropractors do use spinal adjustment and manipulations techniques, they will also want to sit down and discuss the individual’s diet and exercise regime. They will ask about any prescribed medication or supplements the person is taking before they set out a chiropractic care plan to address the patient’s needs.
For sufferers of CFS, the chiropractor can recommend a course of treatment that may involve supplements to help with the CFS, as well as chiropractic adjustments. There are a number of essential fatty acid such as Omega 3 (highly concentrated fish oil) that help CFS, and other elements such as magnesium or linoleic acids. Fish oil supplements offer a number of benefits such as helping with anxiety, relieving migraines, and mental health issues such as depression.
A structured diet plan will be discussed if this is appropriate. Chiropractic treatments that will help with the physical symptoms that are present will be discussed too. Manipulations of the neck and spine can relieve the pressure on the nerves which cause headaches. Aligning the spine so that it balances the whole body takes pressure off the joints and brings the nervous system back into realignment.
For those who suffer from fatigue due to chronic back pain, chiropractic care is a natural and healthier option rather than relying on prescribed medication. Getting pain relief and restoring the natural sleep cycle by use of chiropractic adjustments, gentle exercise regime, and a review of the diet of the patient, will help restore the body’s natural energy reserve.
Chiropractic care and ulcerative colitis
One of the symptoms of ulcerative colitis is fatigue due to the bleeding in the colon or intestines that depletes the body of red blood cells. Diarrhoea is the most common symptom with blood in the stools as this is a disease that causes ulcers in the colon and rectum. Nausea and pain can also be present, but a number of sufferers turn to chiropractic care for help. The chiropractor will realign the pelvis and the spine, as once out of alignment they can hinder organ function as well as other parts of the body. Realigning these areas can help to alleviate the symptoms including fatigue.
Fatigue amongst new parents
For parents suffering from extreme tiredness due to babies with colic, chiropractic care can be used to treat the whole family including small children. Dealing with a baby with colic is a very draining experience because parents don’t want to give their small child medication which is understandable. Chiropractors are skilled at undercovering the root cause of the baby’s colic. This can sometimes be linked to a misalignment in the baby’s spine during birth, particularly if forceps were used. The chiropractor will want to know the baby’s health history and will carry out a gentle examination of the child. They will provide a gentle adjustment which is a safe and natural way to help the baby relax and relieve the symptoms of colic. A secondary benefit is that the parents are able to get back to a manageable sleep cycle, reducing their signs of fatigue as well!
Book an appointment with us to discuss how chiropractic care can help you and your family with fatigue conditions.