Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a debilitating illness where the main symptoms are feeling very tired and unwell. It can affect just about anyone. However, it is more common among women, with the condition tending to develop during the mid-twenties to mid-forties. For most women, this is at the time of their life where they begin to juggle their career and motherhood. The addition of fatigue on top of dealing with everything else that comes their way, can make life very difficult.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome also presents other symptoms such as heart palpitations, headaches, problems with concentration, and difficulty establishing a routine sleep pattern. Sore throat or glands that aren’t swollen can also present along with flu like symptoms. Sufferers can also experience joint or muscle pain. A number of women will find that over exercising does make their symptoms worse, but there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Chiropractic care can help women with CFS, but with all treatments it is very important that patients talk this through with their doctor before starting a course.
What is chiropractic care?
Chiropractic care is a regulated medical activity. Treatment involves gentle manipulation of the spine and neck in order to free up the spinal joints, or other joints in the body that are not moving as well as they should. Chiropractors’ training allows them to diagnose and treat disorders of the muscles, joints and bones that make up the musculoskeletal system. A chiropractor will also help manage and prevent disorders that cause the individual pain in the muscle and joint.
Even though a chiropractor specialises in the neck and spine, when it comes to chiropractic care, they take a holistic view so the social and emotional well-being as well as the physical well-being of the patient is taken into account. As well as gentle manipulation, a chiropractor will use a range of techniques to treat a patient such as ultrasound, heat and ice, acupuncture and exercise. They will also give pertinent advice about the individual’s lifestyle and posture as well.
How can it benefit Chronic Fatigue Syndrome sufferers?
There is still ongoing research into Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. However, the medical professions think that the cause of this condition is due to a common virus known as Epstein-Barr. This virus is carried by a number of individuals, but many will go through the whole of their lives not being affected by it in any way. For those who do experience Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, chiropractic care can help in a number of ways.
First of all, it helps to relieve the body of the neurological stresses and strains that make the problem a lot worse. Because chiropractic care treats the whole person, the chiropractor will also be able to recommend stress reduction techniques, balanced out with nutritional supplements to help the body fight the virus and get back to its optimum level of health.
Conserving energy and pain relief
When dealing with a young or growing family, sleep patterns are going to be interrupted so sufferers from CFS are hit with a double whammy. Chiropractic care that focuses on gentle adjustments to the skull, the spine and mid-thorax will help to relieve stresses and strains on the joints and aid a good night’s sleep. Waking up feeling refreshed means having the energy to tackle all the daily tasks required both at home and at work. Aligning the body will also help conserve the individual’s energy as it helps to reduce joint pain which can be fatiguing to be constantly in pain.
The chiropractor will focus on the area of the neck that is about 2.5 cm below where the neck and head meet. This is known as the upper cervical area and it is thought that long term irritation to the nerves in this area may be linked to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. This irritation might be the cause of some of the elements found in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, such as chronic muscle stress and an imbalance to the immune system. Sufferers of CFS often have sore and strained muscles, which does not help if they have to spend part of the day lifting and caring for small children or toddlers. Chiropractic care helps increase and improve the oxygen exchange in the tissues of the muscles, increasing the blood flow and causing them to relax and not become tense.
Strengthening the immune system
Chiropractic care does not just treat the symptoms but the whole person. A personalised care plan will involve sitting down and talking through the individual’s lifestyle and mental well-being as well as the physical. Along with a course of treatments, the chiropractor will offer counselling on diet and appropriate supplements to boost the immune system. By strengthening the body’s ability to fight the virus that causes CFS, this helps the patient to gain control of their body and control of their condition. Supplements such as Omega 3 fatty acids or magnesium may be suggested. (Magnesium is also the mineral that supports hormonal function and balance and can be beneficial to pre-menopausal women to help with hot flushes)
Chiropractic care can offer women who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome a number of benefits. Most importantly, this treatment provides them with access to someone who will listen and help at every level, not just try to treat the symptoms.
Dr. Clarence Ho is a chiropractor and owner of Adaptive Chiropractic and Adaptive Myotherapy in Melbourne, Australia. He has been working with women from all walks of life with various issues. CFS is one of them and he has successfully helped many of his patients achieve a more optimum level of health through chiropractic care.