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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), is a medical condition characterised by long-term fatigue and other symptoms that limit a person’s ability to carry out ordinary daily activities.

Symptoms include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Memory loss, lack of concentration or brain “fuzziness”
  • Unexplained muscular pain
  • Joint pain
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Extreme exhaustion, either physical or mental, that persists after exertion
  • Disturbed or unrefreshing sleep
  • Night sweats
  • Headaches
  • Sore throat

Complications that may arise include:

  • Depression
  • Increased absence from work or school.
  • Inability to carry out normal daily activities such as caring for children and housekeeping
  • It can cause significant social isolation and loneliness

Doctors do not yet fully understand the cause or causes of CFS. Medically, the diagnosis often involves several tests to rule out other similar disorders and is usually only diagnosed by the absence of these other disorders.

As this is usually not a quick process the patient may be left with troubling and often debilitating symptoms and no real answers – sometimes for months or even years. By the time a patient receives a diagnosis of CFS they are usually exhausted both physically and emotionally.

People who receive an early diagnosis and early treatment tend to do better. Having a supportive community and health therapists, who understand the potential seriousness of CFS, can improve recovery for people with the condition.

It is important to find a doctor who is sympathetic to CFS, has a good knowledge of the syndrome and can suggest ways to manage the condition. Treatment choices will vary for each person with this condition, as the severity affects people differently.

CFS patients often consult the Chiropractor for relief of the musculoskeletal and neurological complaints. Many of these patients have found that chiropractic treatment helps reduce the pain as well as results in greater flexibility, increased mobility and reduced inflammation of joints.

The patients generally require a course of treatments consisting of spinal adjustments, soft tissue therapy, exercise and nutritional advice. As there is no simple cure for this syndrome the Chiropractor may also recommend other forms of therapy to compliment the treatment. The goal is to relieve the symptoms, strengthen the immune system and enable the patient to feel more in control of their body and their condition.

In addition to therapy, CFS symptoms can be managed by listening to your body and finding what it responds to without causing any flare ups. A few of the following may help:

  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and anything else that could affect your sleep
  • Establish a good sleep routine
  • Gentle exercise such stretching, yoga, walking and swimming, with slow and gradual progression
  • Keep an activity diary
  • Find CFS Support groups
  • On good days do not try to “catch-up” or overdo things as it may result in more days when you are exhausted.
  • Think about taking up relaxing hobbies
  • Surround yourself with positive people

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