Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is an often-misunderstood condition. This leads to problems with getting a diagnosis and acquiring sufficient care to cope with this chronic ailment. It is, therefore, important to understand the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome as well as what may be at the heart of this debilitating condition. Then we can discuss a natural therapy that has been offering help in improving the quality of life of some patients with chronic illnesses, as has been demonstrated in case studies.
Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
One of the things that complicate chronic fatigue syndrome is that there are many possible symptoms of this condition and they can vary slightly from person to person. With that in mind, here are some of the most common CFS symptoms that can help identify the condition and that make it so disabling.
- Fatigue – This is the symptoms that the condition has been named after, so it makes sense that this is the primary identifying factor. The fatigue related to CFS is no ordinary tiredness. It is increased by overexertion and is not relieved by normal rest.
- Cognitive symptoms – Patients often experience an array of cognitive symptoms referred to collectively as brain fog. These symptoms can include memory and concentration problems.
- Unrefreshing sleep – A good night’s rest will not necessarily remove the fatigue. However, sleep is still important so that a lack of rest doesn’t increase symptoms.
- Headaches – Chronic headaches may occur, meaning that the patient would have 15 or more headache days per month.
- Sore throat – A chronic sore throat may occur with no other discernable cause.
- Enlarged lymph nodes – The lymph nodes of the armpits and neck may become enlarged.
- Joint or muscle pain – This symptom can sometimes result in a misdiagnosis of fibromyalgia.
- Weakened immune system – This is common among CFS patients, and we will mention this again under the causes section.
These are just some of the most common symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. There are many other symptoms that may be intermittent or that may be experienced by fewer patients. But what causes the onset of chronic fatigue symptoms?
Causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
While researchers are yet to discover and agree upon one underlying cause of chronic fatigue syndrome, there are a number of factors that may lead up to the onset of symptoms. There is some controversy over whether some of these are causes, symptoms, or triggers; but they can still give us some insights into the condition.
- Trauma – Chronic fatigue suffers often have a history of trauma ranging from a car accident to childhood trauma. Researchers are looking into the effects of both physical and emotional trauma.
- Viral infection – Many CFS patients have viruses like herpesvirus 6 or Epstein Barr. However, this is not the same across the board, so researchers are still looking into the connection between certain viruses and the onset of chronic fatigue.
- Immune system problems – Chronic fatigue syndrome patients have a compromised immune system. It is not known whether the immune system problems cause chronic fatigue or if this is a symptom of CFS.
- Hormone problems – Many CFS sufferers have abnormal levels of a number of different hormones. Therefore, researchers are looking into the hormones produced by the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands to find a connection. Again, this may end up being a symptom rather than a cause.
It is also notable that chronic fatigue syndrome patients are more frequently women, the onset and diagnosis is most often during middle age, and stress is a major source of flare-ups, so it is vital to learn to cope with stress properly if you have chronic fatigue. Some researchers who are looking into emotional trauma as a potential underlying cause point to this link between stress and CFS symptoms.
Finding Natural Help for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Are you frustrated with how costly chronic fatigue syndrome treatments are and how limited the benefits seem to be? These are common complaints from patients who are dealing with this condition because medications focus on symptoms rather than an underlying cause. Even many alternative therapies offer limited benefits. Is there anything you can do to provide some self-care at home? Here are a few things:
- Sleep regularly – Sleep isn’t a cure for chronic fatigue, but a lack of sleep can certainly make it worse.
- Light exercise – While overexertion can cause symptoms to flare, a graduated exercise program may help you stay active and can reduce pain levels.
- Boost your immune system – Supplementation and a good diet (along with exercise and proper rest) can help your immune system to function better.
- Positive stress coping – Negative stress coping methods like smoking and drinking alcohol may actually make your symptoms worse. That means you need to find positive stress coping mechanisms whether that includes a hobby, talking things out with a friend, joining a support group, or getting an occasional massage.
We would also like to introduce you to upper cervical chiropractic care since this subspecialty has been able to improve the quality of life for some chronic fatigue syndrome patients in case studies. To learn more about the benefits of this safe and gentle form of chiropractic and to discover whether it is a good fit for you, contact a practitioner in your area and schedule a no-obligation consultation. The search feature on this website can help you to locate one of our preferred doctors.