Ref : Effective Treatment of Chronic Fatigue & Fibromyalgia Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and its painful cousin fibromyalgia (FMS) are chronic health disorders characterized by a mix of severe exhaustion, insomnia and "brain fog" symptoms. In fibromyalgia, widespread pain is also present.
CFS can begin gradually or suddenly. When it occurs gradually, it is most often triggered by hormonal problems; (for example, low thyroid), autoimmune illnesses (such as lupus), or candida overgrowth. It can also begin suddenly, feeling like a drop-dead flu that you can't fully recover from.
Other common symptoms may include:
Recurring sinus or respiratory infections
Weight gain (an average 15kg)
There are literally dozens of other symptoms as well.
CFS's cousin, fibromyalgia syndrome, is characterized by severe pain—sometimes all over the body and sometimes only in specific areas. These painful areas can be transient or persistent. FMS pain is initially caused by a shortening or tightening of the muscles caused by decreased energy in the body. It is similar to the way your muscles get tight after a heavy workout. Restoring energy production is the key to helping the muscles relax and the pain to go away.
The chronic muscle pain also triggers nerve pain and central sensitization, which results in a feeling of "brain pain." There are actually seven distinct types of pain in fibromyalgia, all of which can be effectively treated.
The combination of inability to sleep despite being exhausted, feeling brain fogged, and experiencing widespread pain is generally enough to indicate fibromyalgia.
Functional Medicine Testing
Although medical testing is not needed to make the diagnosis, very thorough testing is needed to determine the underlying causes of the illness in order to design an effective treatment protocol.
Chronic Fatigue /FMS acts as a "circuit breaker"
An hypothesis that we support is that the hypothalamus decreases its function to protect the individual in the face of what is perceived to be an overwhelming stress (just like blowing a fuse/circuit breaker in a house).
What is the Hypothalamus
This area of the brain controls sleep, hormones, temperature, and blood flow/blood pressure/sweating/gut function.
When you don't sleep deeply, your immune system also stops working properly. In addition, if your muscles do not have enough energy, they will get stuck in the shortened position, triggering muscle pain (think rigor mortis). When this muscle pain becomes chronic, it can trigger the numerous other types of pain seen in fibromyalgia.
Infections / Stress / Injuries
Your "energy crisis" can be caused by any of a number of infections, stresses or injuries.
In this situation, you can often give the time that your illness began almost to the day. This is also the case in those who had an injury (sometimes very mild) that was enough to disrupt your sleep or autonomic function, and trigger this process. In others, the illness had a more gradual onset.
This may have been associated with hormonal deficiencies (e.g., low thyroid, estrogen, testosterone, cortisone, etc.) despite normal blood tests. In others, it may be associated with chronic stress, antibiotic use with secondary yeast overgrowth, and/or nutritional deficiencies. Indeed, we have found dozens of common causes and factors that contribute to these syndromes.
Understanding this helps us understand the symptom complex seen in CFS/fibromyalgia. Restoring energy production so that your hypothalamic "circuit breaker" turns back on, and eliminating what blew your fuse in the first place, also gives us many ways to create an effective treatment strategy!
CFS and Fibromyalgia Are Treatable!
It is very important to understand that CFS/FMS are treatable, despite what your doctor may have told you. The approach we support and use is the S.H.I.N.E.® Protocol, which is aimed at addressing and optimizing the following lifestyle factors with personalised Functional Medicine driven interventions.
Get adequate sleep, preferably eight to nine hours a night. Sleep replenishes your body's energy and helps heal your muscles. Inadequate sleep will leave you exhausted and in pain. Because your sleep center isn't working in CFS/FMS, aggressive sleep support is necessary.
Hormone deficiencies can contribute to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Unfortunately blood testing misses the large majority of people with hormonal deficiencies in these illnesses. The large majority of people with fibromyalgia should do a treatment trial with thyroid. In addition, if you get irritable when hungry, adrenal support is needed. Most men with CFS/FMS find that their testosterone level is in the lowest 30% of the population. If a woman's fibromyalgia symptoms are worse around her menses, estrogen and progesterone support may be helpful.
Underlying viral, bacterial, bowel, sinus and yeast infections are common and can be contributing causes of CFS/FMS, or even the result of it.
To maintain normal health and optimal energy levels you need to make sure you get an optimal balance of nutrients, particularly as nutritional deficiencies can result from CFS/FMS. Vitamin B-12, magnesium, acetyl L-carnitine, glutathione, as well as your basic A, B, C and D vitamins are especially vulnerable to depletion.
Exercise as able. After 10 weeks on the first four steps above, you should be able to slowly increase your amount of exercise without being wiped out the next day. Don't overdo it trying to follow "normal" exercise recommendations, as doing too much can result in
Post Exertional Malaise, a condition that can last for days that leaves you feeling as though you were hit by a truck. But by following the S.H.I.N.E.® protocol, you should gradually begin to condition.
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