Annapolis Integrative Medicine
1819 Bay Ridge Avenue
An Effective Approach to Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia
Almost all of us know someone who experiences severe longstanding fatigue, or has lingering wide-spread chronic pain ranging from mild to severe.
Often all the testing and lab work done by doctors is found to be within normal limits in other words there is no clear explanation for the problem.
As a result, patients are told to sleep more, use pain medicine, and decrease stress. This approach, while well-meaning, often does not make much of a difference. Sometimes people are left thinking, or are even told, it is all in their head. And with no real diagnosis to offer, the impact on peoples ability to perform their functions at home and work is impaired and creates confusion and despair for the person and the people around them.
While there is no specific lab test to confirm either chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and/or fibromyalgia, they are very real and affect millions of people in the United States.
A common denominator of both CFS and fibromyalgia is a disruption of the bodys ability to produce, mobilize, and utilize energy, which exists in the body in the form of ATP the energy currency of each cell in the body.
What causes this disruption? One hypothesis that has led to effective and safe treatments for these conditions is that as a result of some combination of chronic infections, stress, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal disruptions and toxic exposures, the function of the master gland of the body (the hypothalamus) is impaired. As a result, the glands controlled by the hypothalamus, including the thyroid and adrenal glands, function sub-optimally.
We often see severe disruptions in the quality and amount of sleep in people with CFS and fibromyalgia. It becomes a chicken and egg phenomenon. Because these patients cannot sleep their body does not heal, causing persistence of pain, which further aggravates the sleep disruption. Until people with CFS and fibromyalgia are sleeping deeply through the night they will not get better.
Aggressively addressing any and all deficiencies in a persons nutritional and hormonal status, making sure they get a sufficient number of sleeping hours, and using medications and natural approaches currently available has provided an effective approach to treating these conditions. Also, we must take into account that what is normal for most people is not normal for all. Testing and treating for Vitamin B12 and thyroid problems is a perfect example of this. Aggressively optimizing a persons nutritional status and repairing gut problems is a key aspect of this treatment protocol.
The good news is that by paying attention to each of these elements people can experience significant improvement in all of the symptoms they have. Often after literally years of suffering and being unable to participate in life they way they want people can return to life and experience wellness.
While these conditions are difficult and may seem hopeless there is an effective approach for dealing with both CFS and fibromyalgia.