Almost all of us know someone, and that someone may be you, who has an experience of severe longstanding fatigue, insufficient energy, or has lingering wide-spread chronic pain ranging from mild to severe in nature. Often all the testing and lab work done by doctors is what we call “within normal limits”in other words no specific reason for the discomfort is uncovered.
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 your head”. And with no “real” diagnosis to offer, the impact on peoples ability to perform their functions at home or at work is impaired and create confusion for the person and the people around them.
These are people who may be suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and/or fibromyalgia. And while there is no specific lab test to confirm either of these diagnoses, they are very real and affect millions of people in the United States. It is almost easier for people to have an illness which is clear cut and recognized by lab tests or x-rays rather than to have an illness which is seemingly so nebulous.
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 ATPthe energy currency of each cell in the body.
What causes this disruption? One hypothesis which has led to effective and safe treatments for these conditions is that as a result 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 also often see severe disruptions in the quality and amount of sleep in people with CFS and fibromyalgia.
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 for vitamin B12 and thyroid problems is a perfect example of this.
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.
So while these conditions are difficult and may seem hopeless, there is an effective approach for dealing with both CFS and fibromyalgia.