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What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and How it Responds to Upper Cervical Treatment

Posted in Balance Disorder, Health Conditions on May 23, 2019

Understanding Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Are you looking for help with chronic fatigue syndrome? How is it affecting the quality of your life? Full body pain? Complete lack of energy? Is it affecting your ability to enjoy time with your family or friends? Or to do basic tasks at home or work? And if you do, are you wiped out for days at a time afterwards?

Have you been to your GP and specialists - and had dozens of tests - but feel you haven’t gotten anywhere? Would you prefer not to take so many drugs for the rest of your life? But are you also frustrated because even the natural treatments - naturopathy, massage, physiotherapy, chiropractic - haven’t really helped either gotten any relief?

Despite what you may have been told, the truth is when it comes to chronic fatigue syndrome that there is no magic or “quick fix.” Chronic fatigue syndrome is the result of your body not being as healthy as it needs to be. Think about it: if your body was 100% healthy, would you be having these problems? So when it comes to managing chronic fatigue syndrome, you have two choices.

Option one: you can continue to treat the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome - and it may provide some relief - but that strategy will only keep you where currently are. Or option two: you can do something different that can help you become healthier in mind and body as a long term solution to help overcome your chronic fatigue syndrome.

If so, please read on about a powerful form of healthcare known as Blair upper cervical, how it works, and how it may be able to help you in pursuit of your health goals.

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms

Chronic fatigue syndrome is the medical diagnosis for a collective of symptoms punctuated by a complete lack of energy that does not improve even with adequate rest … and only in the absence of any other explanation.

I have described chronic fatigue syndrome as a “garbage can” diagnosis, which means it is nothing more than a label that is used when doctors can’t figure out what is causing the problem, but all the symptoms match. 

And that is definitely one of the most frustrating aspects of chronic fatigue syndrome: it is that there is no definitive test that reveals what causes it, let along what to do about it! Many authors have proposed that certain viruses (e.g., Epstein Barr virus), certain genes (MFTHR) or certain life events (e.g., stress) are responsible for chronic fatigue syndrome. However, recent studies have shown that there is no significant difference among any of these things in people who experience chronic fatigue syndrome compared to those who don’t.

In other words, the answer isn’t as easy as that. So what could possibly be going on?between ervical myelopathy occurs when there is pressure, tension or damage to the spinal cord in the neck. It isn’t the type of damage that causes paralysis, though. It is more of a degenerative process that causes damage to the spinal cord over time.

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Because of the nature of nerves in the neck, it is possible to experience any number of problems due to cervical myelopathy.

If you simply look at the nerves directly in the firing line, they would include the nerves that go to your head, neck, arms and hands. It is not uncommon for many people who experience cervical myelopathy to suffer a wide variety of headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, or tingling or weakness in the hands that is mistaken for “carpal tunnel syndrome.”

But that isn’t all! Bear in mind that all messages that go from your brain to your legs (and from your legs to your brain) also travel through your neck. Therefore, it is also not uncommon for people who have cervical myelopathy to experience back pain, sciatica, balance issues or weakness in their legs.

Especially if you suffer issues with your lower back and you’ve had all types of therapies to treat your lower back, it makes sense when you think about it that the problem could actually be coming from higher up!

 

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Causes

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I have written previously about multifactorial conditions, and based on my experience in working with people who experience chronic fatigue syndrome that is exactly what the problem is. I define a “multifactorial condition” as a state of incoordination or diminished health in the body that is caused by a combination of elements. And not just the same elements, but different combinations of different things!

To use a metaphor, let’s say that I asked you to give me change for $50 in whole dollar bills. There are multiple ways you could do that. You could give me one $50 note. You could give me two $20s and one $10. Or two $20s and two $5s. Or you could give me five $10s or even ten $5s. My point is that there are multiple ways that you can get the same outcome. 

It is my professional opinion that chronic fatigue syndrome develops as a combination of multiple elements in different ways to produce the same common symptoms in different people. That is why there is not one definitive test that proves its existence, nor is there one definitive treatment that works in all people.

If so, then chronic fatigue syndrome is not a discrete entity that can be treated like an acute infection or a disease. It would mean that chronic fatigue syndrome the result of a body that is in a state of diminished health and resilience … even if on the surface everything looks okay!

Therefore, the solution does not require any one specific treatment to “fix” the symptoms, but may require multiple approaches that collectively work to restore the body to normal health and function as much as possible. 

So what does that look like?

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What to do about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

I can’t begin to describe all the things that may contribute towards the development of chronic fatigue syndrome. However, there are a few common ones that seem to pop up more often than others: 

  1. Long-term infection. Although viruses, parasites and bacteria live in all human beings, it appears that a certain unknown subset of the population are particularly susceptible to these pathogens. When present, strategies that boost immune function are often essential to improving the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.
  2. Heavy metal or chemical poisoning. Industrial and chemical pollution have the potential to enter into the body’s cells and disrupt normal metabolism, creating states of chronic inflammation. If these substances enter into the brain, they may also disrupt the normal function of the central nervous system, which controls and coordinates every function in your body.
  3. Changes in brain function as a physical condition.

 

Let me please explain. I am NOT talking about psychological problems. If you have been dealing with chronic fatigue syndrome for any length of time, someone has probably suggested to you that your symptoms may just be psychological. And if so, you have probably felt outraged that someone could even suggest that because what you feel is completely real! And if you could snap your fingers to make it go away, you’d do so in a heart beat! 

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What I am describing is a process in the brain that has been discovered by researchers in functional neurology. In brief, you brain processes information like a computer. However, if the computer receives corrupt data (like malware) from the nerve receptors in the body, it can mess-up the way that the brain processes information, like a crossed wire or a computer that starts getting slow.

Its fancy term is “the dysafferentation hypothesis.” 

 

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in Adults

Without boring you with too much neurology, I want to briefly propose where and how a processing error in the brain may contribute towards chronic fatigue syndrome.

The areas of importance are called the periaqueductual grey (PAG) matter and the median or “raphe” nuclei of the reticular formation (RF). (That’s it for the technicalities). The PAG and RF are central clusters of nerve cells located throughout the brainstem. Their primary function is to regulate the volume of traffic that the brain receives by inhibiting nerve signals in the spinal cord. The PAG and RF are also intimately involved with the regulation of sleep cycles. 

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Think about it: in order for you to be able to sleep, your brain has to be able to selectively “turn off” to light and noises that would otherwise keep you awake all night.

However, consider the possibility that the PAG and RF are not functioning properly, and that they are not able to dampen nerve signals from your body to your brain. Or consider the additional possibility that the PAG and RF are working just fine, but there is an excessive volume of abnormal nerve signals that they cannot entirely regulate? What could happen?

Exactly! Your brain would be in a constant state of activity … who wouldn’t be fatigued from that?

Now, the reality of the situation is that the process is WAY more complicated than that. Nevertheless, I give this quick description to provide the general principle that input from the body affects brain function.

If so, it also implies that a necessary piece of the puzzle is in helping your brain to better coordinate the nerve signals it receives by providing proper input into the system.

And here is where Blair upper cervical care finally comes into the picture as a method of promoting a healthy brain and body and also as a way of helping chronic fatigue syndrome.

 

Chiropractic Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Diagnosis

If you have never heard of Blair upper cervical care for chronic fatigue syndrome, I am not surprised. In Australia at the time of writing this article, I can count on one hand the number of practitioners who provide this unique form of healthcare. 

So what is it? Blair upper cervical care is a unique, gentle (non “cracking”) and powerful form of chiropractic that focuses on the alignment and motion of the vertebrae in the top of your neck. Now, you might be thinking, “I’ve also tried chiropractic, but that didn’t help.” Let me explain.

First, allow me to explain the role of the upper neck in health and potentially in chronic fatigue syndrome. The nerve receptors in the neck have a profound influence on normal brain function. Multiple studies over the past decade have demonstrated that even general manipulation to the restore movement through the joints of the lower neck help to step-up the processing the ability of the brain at all levels of its organisation: in the parts that are responsible for thought and emotion, in the parts that are responsible for movement and coordination, and also in the parts that are responsible for pain sensation and sensory regulation … the exact parts that we described in the previous section!

And that is the lower part of the neck. The upper part of the neck - the C1 (atlas) and C2 (axis) vertebrae and their supporting muscle and ligaments - contain even more nerve receptors, which mean that their proper alignment and motion may have an even greater impact on the brain’s ability to process information.

Second and unlike general forms of manipulation, Blair upper cervical care involves a precise analysis of the condition of your neck. Things are not left to chance. We do not simply manipulate your neck on every visit in order to “get things moving.” 

The way that Blair upper cervical chiropractic works is 1) by performing a detailed analysis of your posture, muscle tension; 2) by doing specific neurological testing including computerised paraspinal thermography; 3) by taking customised x-rays of your neck, which show the exact location and degree of misalignment that can be helped; and then 4) by giving a precise correction to the alignment of your neck only when indicated.

After that, it is a matter where your central nervous system processes the input, and then over time improves function to become healthier.

 

Chiropractic Treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The Blair upper cervical procedure is unlike general chiropractic. Foremost, there is no manipulation or “cracking” the neck. The adjustment is performed with your neck in a neutral position using as little force as possible: usually no more than the amount of pressure you would use to feel your pulse.

As light as the correction is, people are often amazed how such a small but significant adjustment can make for their chronic fatigue syndrome and for the quality of their lives!

As we mentioned before, Blair upper cervical care is not a treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome. Moreover, results take time! Remember what we said in the very beginning: that the key to helping chronic fatigue syndrome may not be in “treating the symptoms” where you are, but in taking the necessary steps to improve your health.

Like diet or exercise, there are no shortcuts to being healthy. And even if they aren’t necessarily a “cure” for chronic fatigue syndrome or any other malady, the ability for your brain and body to be healthier can help you in so many other areas of your life that the effort is worth it.

If you or a loved one are looking for a natural option that may be able to help your chronic fatigue syndrome, please contact our office at 07 3188 9329 to speak with one of our doctors to find out if Blair upper cervical care is right for you. Our practice is located in North Lakes between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast just off the Bruce Highway.

Take care of your neck with Blair upper cervical care and Atlas Health.

 

References

Bested AC, Marshall LM. Review of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: an evidence-based approach to diagnosis and management by clinicians. Rev Environ Health. 2015;30(4):223-49. doi: 10.1515/reveh-2015-0026.

Cifre I, Sitges C, Fraiman D, et al. Disrupted functional connectivity of the pain network in fibromyalgia. Psychosom Med. 2012 Jan;74(1):55-62. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0b013e3182408f04. Epub 2011 Dec 30.

Cliff JM, King EC, Lee JS, et al. Cellular Immune Function in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS). Front Immunol. 2019 Apr 16;10:796. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.00796. eCollection 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31057538

Carrick FR, McLellan K, Brock JB, et al. Evaluation of the Effectiveness of a Novel Brain and Vestibular Rehabilitation Treatment Modality in PTSD Patients Who have Suffered Combat-Related Traumatic Brain Injuries. Front Public Health. 2015 Feb 4;3:15. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2015.00015. eCollection 2015. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25699246

Daligadu J, Haavik H., Yielder PC, et al. Alterations in cortical and cerebellar motor processing in subclinical neck pain patients following spinal manipulation. Manipulative Physiol Therap. 36(8);2013:527-537. 

Haavik Taylor H, Murphy B. Transient modulation of intracortical inhibition following spinal manipulation. Chiropractic Journal of Australia, Vol. 37, No. 3;2007:106-116.

Haavik-Taylor H, Holt K, and Murphy B. Exploring the neuromodulatory effects of the vertebral subluxation and chiropractic care. Chiropr J Aust, 40;2010:37-44.

Haavik-Taylor H and Murphy B. Altered central integration of dual somatosensory input after cervical spine manipulation. J Manipulative Physiol Therap. 33(3);2010: 178-188.

Losert-Bruggner B, Hülse M, Hülse R. Fibromyalgia in patients with chronic CCD and CMD - a retrospective study of 555 patients. Cranio. 2017 Jun 5:1-9. doi: 10.1080/08869634.2017.1334376. [Epub ahead of print]

Rosa S, Baird JW. The craniocervical junction: observations regarding the relationship between misalignment, obstruction of cerebrospinal fluid flow, cerebellar tonsillar ectopia, and image-guided correction. Smith FW, Dworkin JS (eds): The Craniocervical Syndrome and MRI. Basel, Karger, 2015, pp 48-66 (DOI:10.1159/000365470). 

Twisk FNM. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Chronic Fatigue: Three Distinct Entities Requiring Complete Different Approaches. Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2019 May 9;21(6):27. doi: 10.1007/s11926-019-0823-z. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31073713

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