An Introduction to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

An Introduction to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can be characterized by extreme fatigue or tiredness that isn’t resolved with rest and is not explained by any other medical condition.

What Causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Currently, the causes of chronic fatigue syndrome are not well understood. There are a few theories that include viral infections, psychological stress, or a combination of factors. Since there is no definitive cause of this condition, and given the fact that many conditions have similar symptoms, CFS can be very difficult to diagnose. As such, it is considered a “diagnosis of exclusion,” which means that your doctor has to rule out any other underlying causes of your symptoms first. If they can find no other cause for your symptoms, you may be diagnosed with CFS.

Potential Causes of CFS

  • Emotional or physical or hormonal disturbances
  • Nutritional deficits
  • Infection or immunosuppression
  • Overtraining
  • Trauma, injury
  • High-altitude training
  • Anxiety or depression


Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome vary from individual to individual. However, there are some common symptoms. In order to be diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome you have to have at least four of the following symptoms for a period of up to six months:

  • Fatigue that lasts more than six months (the most common symptom)
  • Loss of memory or concentration
  • Chronic insomnia
  • Muscle pain
  • Frequent headaches/sore throat
  • Multiple joint pain
  • Tender and swollen lymph nodes

 …

Treatment Options

  1. Lifestyle changes
    • Limit or eliminate caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine intake
    • Create a sleep routine. Check out these tips to get you started
  1. Physical therapy
    • Exercise routines tailored specifically to you, which your chiropractor can help you with! Graded exercise therapy has been shown to help with CFS
    • Acupuncture, tai chi, yoga, and massage have also been shown to reduce symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome
  1. Psychological therapy

If you’ve already been diagnosed with CFS, a chiropractor can help tailor a specific treatment plan geared to you.

 

References

1 CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). Healthline website. Last reviewed August 22, 2017. https://www.healthline.com/health/chronic-fatigue-syndrome#outlook. Accessed February 12, 2018.
2 Shephard RJ. Chronic fatigue syndrome: an update. Sports Med. 2001;31(3):167-94.
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